Business Maverick

Business Maverick

Gold backtracks as Middle East tensions ease following strikes

Gold backtracks as Middle East tensions ease following strikes
An employee handles one kilogram gold bullions at the YLG Bullion International Co. headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand, on Friday, 22 December 2023. (Photo: Chalinee Thirasupa/Bloomberg)

Gold edged lower as geopolitical tensions eased in the Middle East, paring haven demand, and traders looked ahead to US data that will shed light on the outlook for monetary policy.

Bullion traded just below $2,377 an ounce after a five-week rally, the longest such streak in more than a year, during which prices hit a record. While Israel and Iran have traded strikes, raising concerns about an all-out-war in the region, Tehran has played down the impact and significance of Israel’s recent attack, and also dismissed the low success rate seen in its own assault.

Beyond the Middle East, traders are focusing on US economic data. On Friday, the personal consumption expenditures price index is projected to show the annual rate rose to 2.6% last month, from 2.5% in February. That would support the case for Federal Reserve policymakers to delay rate cuts, a scenario that would typically weigh on gold as it doesn’t pay interest.

Gold remains more than 15% higher so far this year, with gains supported by central-bank buying and demand from Asia, especially China. The commodity has risen despite advances in the US currency and 10-year Treasury yields, factors that would usually be a headwind. Against that backdrop, banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. have been raising their price targets for the metal.

Spot gold slipped 0.6% to $2,376.90 an ounce at 10:02 a.m. in Singapore, while the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed lower and 10-year Treasury yields advanced. Silver fell more than 1% after a four-week surge. Palladium and platinum also traded lower.

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