Gold traded in a tight range on Wednesday, with prices searching for direction ahead of the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book, which offers a snapshot of U.S. economic conditions.
A hunt for assets viewed as risky had taken the haven metal to its lowest finish of the year on Tuesday.
The Beige Book will be released at 2 p.m. Eastern time, shortly after gold futures settle. It could give clues on whether business conditions are picking up. Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker and St. Louis Fed President James Bullard will also both speak at 12:30 p.m.
In Wednesday dealings, gold for June delivery
on Comex was down 60 cents, or less than 0.1%, at $1,276.60 an ounce after trading as high as $1,282.10. June gold settled at $1,277.20 Tuesday to mark the lowest finish for a most-active contract since Dec. 26, according to FactSet data.
Gold prices saw some support, “perhaps off a reversal in the dollar, which at times overnight fell below the Tuesday low,” as well as from “classic technical short covering given the magnitude of the aggressive washout yesterday,” analysts at Zaner Metals said in a note Wednesday.
However, gold has moved lower this week as equity benchmarks in the U.S. flirted with records and the 10-year Treasury note yield
pushed higher. Rising yields can undercut demand for bullion because the commodity doesn’t carry a coupon.
Bond yields continued to show some strength Wednesday, though U.S stocks moved modestly lower. Evidence of Chinese economic stabilization provided support to equities in Europe and Asia, fueling some risk-on sentiment.
In Wednesday economic data, market participants got a handle on a shrinking trade balance for February.
In the medium term, expect more economic and market uncertainty this year, wrote analysts at Capital Economics in a recent research note, led by Caroline Bain, chief commodities economist.
“Gold is likely to benefit from economic uncertainty this year. We expect particularly strong interest in North American and European ETFs,” Capital Economics analysts said.
From there, the path for gold turns lower.
“However, the improvement in risk appetite will work against gold in 2020 and 2021. We forecast the price of gold to reach $1,400 per ounce by the end of 2019, before slipping to $1,350 and $1,250 at end-2020 and end-2021 respectively.”
In other trading, May silver
was up 1.5 cents, or 0.2%, at $14.94 an ounce and May copper
rose 1.5% to $2.975 a pound. June palladium
rose 1.6% to $1,349 an ounce, while July platinum
added 0.7% to $890.20 an ounce.
Prices for industrial metal copper have “responded well to news China’s economy expanded by a slightly better-than-expected margin in the first quarter of this year, thanks in part to easing concerns over the nation’s trade spat with the U.S.,” said Fawad Razaqzada, technical analyst at Forex.com. “As well as GDP and retail sales, it was industrial data that surprised the most, suggesting that the world’s second largest economy may have bottomed.”
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