Gold Silver Reports ~ Gold rates inched higher on Friday, drawing support from weak U.S. GDP data that raised hopes the Federal Reserve may slow any planned interest rate hikes.
Gold for February delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange tacked on 80 cents, or 0.07%, to close the week at $1,116.40 a troy ounce.
The Commerce Department said Friday that the U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 0.7% in the fourth quarter, missing expectations for growth of 0.8% and slowing from 2.0% in the preceding quarter.
Gold rates rallied to a three-month peak of $1,128.00 on Wednesday as market players viewed the Federal Reserve’s policy statement as slightly dovish.
As expected, the Fed kept interest rates unchanged at the conclusion of its policy meeting and said it was “closely monitoring” global economic and financial developments.
Traders are anticipating just one more rate hike this year, most likely in July, compared with four according to Fed policy-makers’ guidance. A gradual path to higher rates is seen as less of a threat to gold rates than a swift series of increases.
Gold rates rose $20.10, or 1.8%, on the week, the second straight weekly advance. rates of the precious metal ended January with a gain of 5.4%, its biggest monthly rise in a year, as investors sought refuge from turmoil in global equity markets.
Also on the Comex, silver futures for March delivery eased up 1.1 cents, or 0.08%, on Friday to settle at $14.24 a troy ounce. On the week, silver futures tacked on 17.8 cents, or 1.32%.
Elsewhere in metals trading, copper for March delivery rose 1.5 cents, or 0.76%, to settle the week at $2.067 a pound on Friday, as global stock markets rallied after an unexpected decision by the Bank of Japan to adopt negative interest rates.
For the week, Comex copper rates jumped 5.5 cents, or 3.3%, on the back of expectations for fresh central-bank stimulus in Europe and Asia.
Despite the strong weekly performance, copper still lost 3% in January as investors slashed holdings of the red metal amid persistent worries over an economic slowdown in China. The Asian nation is the world’s largest copper consumer, accounting for nearly 45% of world consumption.
In the week ahead, investors will be focusing on Friday’s U.S. nonfarm payrolls report for January to gauge if the world’s largest economy is strong enough to withstand further rate hikes in 2016.
Market players will also be looking out for a pair of reports on China’s manufacturing sector due on Monday, amid ongoing concerns over the health of the world’s second biggest economy. ~ Neal Bhai Reports