Investing.com — Gold prices hit 2-week highs and settled above the key $1,900 an ounce level Wednesday as the dollar and Treasury yields retreated from recent highs ahead of Federal Reserve Chair Jay Powell’s speech later in the week at the central bank’s annual policy event in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
The ’s rally paused at two-month highs, while Treasury yields fell slightly after reaching over 20-year peaks as market makers awaited Powell’s speech on Friday.
This allowed spot prices to re-enter the $1,900 berth, although the outlook for the yellow metal still remained dull — or, at best, uncertain — amid concerns over higher U.S. interest rates.
Gold futures’ most-active on New York’s Comex settled at $1,948.10 per ounce, up $22.10, or 1.1%, on the day. It hit a two-week high of $1,949.65 earlier and was up 1.6% week-to-date, after four previous weeks of declines that led to a net loss of 4%.
Jackson Hole, Powell speech in focus
Markets were now focused squarely on an address by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell at the on Friday.
Analysts warned that Powell could flag an era of higher U.S. interest rates, especially given that inflation has remained sticky and the labor market is strong.
Any signals on higher U.S. rates are likely to spark more losses in gold, given that rising rates push up the opportunity cost of investing in the yellow metal.
This trade had battered gold over the past year, with the metal coming under renewed pressure in August after data showed U.S. inflation remained sticky in July.
Despite a recovery this week, gold prices were still trading close to five-month lows, with a recovery in the yellow metal expected to be short-lived as U.S. rates remain higher for longer.
Copper up despite mixed PMIs
Among industrial metals, copper prices also benefited from weakness in the dollar, with rising 1.4% to $3.811 a pound in Wednesday’s late afternoon trade in New York.
Business activity in the expanded at a softening pace in early August, with S&P Global Composite PMI falling to 50.4 from 52 in July. This reading came in worse than the market expectation of 52. Readings from and showed some resilience, although the outlook for the two economies remained under pressure from souring sentiment towards China.
Also in focus was any uncertainty over further stimulus measures from China, after the People’s Bank disappointed markets with a smaller-than-expected interest rate cut this week.
China is the world’s largest copper importer, and is facing a slowing post-COVID economic recovery due to headwinds from weak spending and a potential property market crisis.
Concerns over China had also battered copper prices over the past year.
(Additional reporting by Ambar Warrick)