Gold Silver Reports ~ Gold futures steadied below the prior session’s 13-month peak on Monday, as traders awaited comments from a pair of Federal Reserve officials later in the session for further clues on the path of future rate hikes.
Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard is due to deliver a speech titled “Economic Report, Liquidity and Resilience” at the Institute of International Bankers Annual Washington Conference.
At the same time, Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer will deliver a speech titled “Reflections on Macroeconomics Then and Now” at the National Association for Business Economics policy conference, in Washington D.C.
Gold for April delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange inched up 30 cents, or 0.02%, to trade at $1,271.00 a troy ounce.
On Friday, gold rallied to $1,280.70, the most since February 3, 2015, as investors scaled back expectations on how fast and how far the Fed might raise interest rates this year after U.S. employment data showed strong jobs growth combined with low wages.
The U.S. Labor Department reported Friday that the economy added a more-than-expected 242,000 jobs last month, while the unemployment rate held steady at 4.9%. However, average hourly earnings fell 0.1% last month, representing the first monthly decline in wages in more than a year.
The mixed data lessened the threat of an early interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve. U.S. interest rate futures are pricing in only one rate hike by the end of year, with virtually no chance seen of a rate move in March.
Prices of the yellow metal are up nearly 18% so far this year as investors seek safe havens in the face of mounting instability in other financial markets.
Also on the Comex, silver futures for March delivery tacked on 7.9 cents, or 0.5%, to trade at $15.75 a troy ounce during morning hours in New York.
Elsewhere in metals trading, copper futures added 0.6 cents, or 0.29%, to $2.281 a pound, as traders digested China’s new economic targets announced at the National People’s Congress over the weekend.
The targets for 2016 included a revised growth target of between 6.5% and 7%, a consumer price index growth target of around 3% and a budget deficit at 3% of gross domestic product.
On Friday, prices of the red metal rallied to a four-month peak of $2.304 thanks to easing concerns over the health of the global economy and amid mounting expectations for further stimulus measures from central banks in Europe and Asia.
In the week ahead, market players will be focusing on the outcome of Thursday’s European Central Bank meeting amid growing indications the central bank could ramp up its monetary stimulus program and push rates further into negative territory.
Meanwhile, China is to release what will be closely watched trade and inflation data. ~ Neal Bhai Reports