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Gold edges higher on strong China data

May 17, 2024

NEW YORK (May 17) Gold (XAU/USD) is trading three-tenths of a percent higher on Friday, in the $2,380s, helped by positive data from China that brightened the prospects for the country with the world’s largest market for Gold. 

In the US, meanwhile, a raft of secondary data released on Thursday came out mixed and Federal Reserve (Fed) officials repeated their mantra that inflation was still not coming down fast enough to contemplate cutting interest rates, with an overall neutralizing effect on Gold price. 

Gold had been rallying after cooler US inflation data and weak US Retail Sales released on Wednesday suggested the Fed might be closer to cutting interest rates than previously thought. The expectation of lower interest rates increases the attractiveness of non-yielding Gold to investors. 

Gold price rises after China data shows improvement 

Gold got a shot in the arm on Friday after Chinese Industrial Production showed an expectation-beating 6.7% rise year-over-year in April, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics of China. Economists had forecast a more modest 5.5%. The figure was substantially higher than the 4.5% reading registered in March. 

Chinese growth “uneven”

Despite the positive data, some economists remain skeptical about Chinese growth, describing it as “uneven”. 

“Activity data for April suggested growth remained uneven. Growth was supported by investment growth and exports, while consumption slowed,” said Tommy Wu, Senior Economist at Commerzbank. 

Fiscal spending key

Wu says greater fiscal spending is required to keep growth momentum steady and points out that the Chinese government is starting to sell sovereign bonds in order to boost spending. Much of the country’s growth expectations depend on whether the government sticks to its spending plans, he adds. 

The government is also working on comprehensive solutions to the housing crisis. A plan for local governments and state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to buy unsold homes should help absorb inventory and prop up the ailing sector. Further, the PBoC has loosened restrictions on first-time buyers by lowering the minimum deposit to 15% from 25% and “scrapping the mortgage rate floor for first and second home buyers.”

Impact of US tariffs minor

As far as US tariffs on EVs and solar panels goes, Wu says the effect is likely to be minor given China only exports a small percentage of its EVs to the US and most Chinese solar panels are sold through intermediate countries without high tariffs. 


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