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Gold price drops amid uncertainty over US core PCE price index data

February 28, 2024

NEW YORK (February 28) Gold price (XAU/USD) comes under pressure in Wednesday’s European session as Federal Reserve (Fed) policymakers are not interested in lowering interest rates anytime in the first half of 2024. Higher interest rates are negative for non-yielding Gold as they increase the opportunity cost of holding the precious metal

For fresh cues about the timing for rate cuts, investors will focus on the United States core Personal Consumption Expenditure price index (PCE) data for January, which will be published on Thursday. Market expectations for rate cuts will be trimmed if the underlying inflation data turns out stickier than expectations. Such an outcome could trigger a downside move in Gold price. 

Downbeat US Durable Goods Orders data for January released on Tuesday failed to catalyze gains in Gold price. Fresh orders for Durable Goods were down by 6.1%, while investors projected a decline of 4.5%. Weak demand for durable goods indicates a poor outlook for consumer spending.

Daily Digest Market Movers: Gold price retreats while US Dollar strengthens

  • Gold price trades lower below $2,030, while the US Dollar strengthens ahead of the United States core PCE price index data for January, which will be published on Thursday.
  • The underlying inflation data will provide cues about when the Federal Reserve could consider a dovish shift in its monetary policy stance.
  • Expectations are for the core PCE price index to have grown by 0.4% on a month-on-month basis in January against a 0.2% increase in December. Annually, the underlying inflation data is forecast to have decelerated to 2.8% from 2.9% in December. 
  • Sticky price pressures would allow Fed policymakers to argue in favor of keeping interest rates restrictive in the first half of 2024.
  • Most Fed policymakers want to see more evidence to confirm that inflation will return sustainably to the 2% target before cutting rates.
  • Currently, market expectations for rate cuts are considerably aligned with Fed policymakers who see no need to rush to reduce interest rates.
  • The CME FedWatch tool shows that interest rates will remain unchanged in the range of 5.25%-5.50% in the March and May policy meetings. For the June meeting, traders see a 50% chance for a rate cut by 25 basis points (bps).
  • On Tuesday, Federal Reserve Governor Michelle Bowman also supported keeping interest rates steady as early rate cuts could stall progress in inflation easing towards 2% or resurge price pressures.
  • Michelle Bowman added that strong inflation readings in January and a tight labor market suggest slowing progress in inflation declining to 2%.
  • Meanwhile, the US Dollar will be guided by the second estimate of Q4 Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which will be published at 13:30 GMT on Wednesday.
  • The Q4 annualized GDP is expected to come out unchanged at 3.3%.
  • The US Dollar Index (DXY), which gauges the Greenback’s value against six major currencies, soars above 104.00 as uncertainty over US economic data has improved the appeal for safe-haven assets.


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