Gold prices remain rangebound with inflation, rate cues on tap

Gold prices stuck to a tight range in Asian trade on Tuesday as investors looked to a swathe of upcoming economic data for more trading cues, although the near-term outlook for the yellow metal remained constrained.

Bullion prices also remained largely within a $2,000 to $2,050 an ounce trading range established over the past two months, as any potential upside in the yellow metal was largely quashed by the prospect of higher for longer U.S. interest rates.

Several comments from Federal Reserve officials furthered this notion, as they signaled that the bank was in no hurry to begin loosening policy due to sticky inflation. The dollar remained close to three-month highs on this notion.

Spot gold rose 0.1% to $2,033.36 an ounce, while gold futures expiring in April rose 0.2% to $2,042.60 an ounce by 00:25 ET (05:25 GMT).

PCE inflation, GDP data awaited for more trading cues

Gold investors were now awaiting key U.S. economic data to dictate the next leg of movement for metal markets.

PCE price index data- the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge- is due this Thursday, and is expected to show inflation remaining sticky, giving the Fed little impetus to consider rate cuts.

Before that, a second reading on fourth-quarter GDP data is expected to show mild cooling in the U.S. economy, but not to the extent that the Fed will be pushed into loosening policy.

The prospect of higher-for-longer rates bodes poorly for non-yielding assets such as gold, given that it increases the opportunity cost of investing in the yellow metal. Other precious metals also remained rangebound on this notion, with platinum futures rising 0.5% to $887.85 an ounce, while silver futures rose 0.1% to $22.758 an ounce, with both metals recovering a measure of steep losses through February.

Among industrial metals, copper futures expiring in March rose 0.4% to $3.8510 a pound, with focus largely on key purchasing managers index data from top importer China, due later this week.

UBS sees gold stronger by end-2024

Analysts at UBS said that while the near-term outlook for gold remained muted, the yellow metal was still set to strengthen later this year, especially as U.S. interest rates eventually come down.

“We maintain gold is an attractive standalone investment, and can be used as a portfolio hedge against risk events,” UBS analysts said.

UBS maintained its year-end gold price forecasts at $2,250 an ounce for the end of 2024, and at $2,050 an ounce by June 2024.

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