Gold prices experienced a rise on Tuesday and Thursday (sideways on Wednesday), driven by traders' expectations of another interest rate hike by the US Federal Reserve. But is the medium-term downtrend really over?
One fundamental indicator that can help answer this question is the nonfarm payrolls, due to be released this Friday (US time). Any unexpected outcomes could lead to heightened volatility in rate-sensitive assets such as gold.
Market projections indicate that the upcoming nonfarm payrolls report for May will show a slowdown in job additions to the economy, with 190,000 jobs compared to the 253,000 jobs added in April. Interestingly, the forecast for the previous month was also around 190,000 jobs.
The nonfarm payroll data serves as the final key indicator ahead of the release of inflation data on June 14 and the concurrent interest rate decision from the Federal Reserve.
Market sentiment currently suggests a 60% probability of a 25 basis-point interest rate hike during the Federal Reserve's upcoming June meeting, compared to a 26% chance observed a week earlier. If implemented, this would mark the central bank's 11th consecutive rate increase.
Gold was trading around $1,932, reaching its lowest level since March 17 before its incline began on Tuesday. While Thursday was a positive day for the metal, it still retraced about half of its gains on the day and now trades at approximately $1,960. It peaked at $1,974, which is the most immediate resistance level but without much historical precedence. Considering the NFP is still two days away, this level might become irrelevant.
$1,985 is a level with more medium-term precedence but will have to wait until closer to the release of the data to tell if this level is something that needs to be watched. If gold turns to the downside, it might pay to keep an eye on $1,938 as a support level.
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