Gold price rises as investors digest Fed Powell's hawkish guidance


  • Gold price edges higher even though the Fed’s “higher for longer” interest-rates stance offsets safe-haven demand.
  • Fed Powell supports keeping interest rates at high levels until there is confidence that inflation will ease to 2%.
  • The US warns about sanctions on Iran in response to their attack on Israel.

Gold price (XAU/USD) rebounds to $2,400 in Wednesday’s early American session. The precious metal aims to recapture new all-time highs around $2,430 even though Federal Reserve (Fed) Chair Jerome Powell emphasised maintaining the restrictive policy framework for a longer period. Powell and his colleagues seem to be leaning towards keeping interest rates higher for longer as inflation has remained stubborn and the labor demand remained strong.

The prospects for the Fed keeping interest rates higher for longer bodes well for the US Dollar and US bond yields. 10-year US Treasury yields fell slightly but remained close to a five-month high around 4.70%. The US Dollar Index (DXY), which measures the Greenback’s value against six major currencies, turns sideways after refreshing a five-month high near 106.40.

Meanwhile, deepening Middle East tensions hold strong ground for Gold. Israel prepares to respond to Iran’s attack. However, US President Joe Biden said it won’t support the counterattack from Israel. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Tuesday that the US administration intends to levy new sanctions on Iran after it attacks Israel. Fresh sanctions on Iran could impact their capacity to export Oil.

Daily digest market movers: Gold price remains inside Tuesday's range

  • Gold price trades close the crucial resistance of $2,400. The precious metal rise as escalating Middle East tensions continue to offer firm ground while a hawkish interest rate outlook from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has limited the upside.
  • On Tuesday, Jerome Powell supported keeping interest rates higher for a longer period as current inflation data is not giving confidence that price pressures will return to the desired rate of 2%. “The recent data have clearly not given us greater confidence, and instead indicate that it’s likely to take longer than expected to achieve that confidence,” Powell said, according to Reuters.
  • Powell added that strong labor demand and slowing disinflation progress in the first three months of this year suggest that the restrictive monetary policy framework should be given more time to work to bring inflation down to 2%.
  • The Fed’s confidence in progress in inflation easing to the required rate of 2% was questioned after the March Consumer Price Index (CPI) data surprisingly rose more than estimated. Also, robust Retail Sales data for March have reinforced expectations that the inflation outlook will remain stubborn.
  • On the geopolitical front, escalating Middle East tensions keep the safe-haven bid firm. Fears of Middle East tensions spreading beyond Gaza have escalated as Israel prepares to retaliate for the airstrike by Iran on their territory on Saturday. Iran aimed hundreds of drones and missiles at Israel in response to their attack on the Iranian embassy near Damascus in Syria, in which two high-ranked generals were killed. The appeal for Gold as a safe-haven asset strengthens when investors see geopolitical tensions worsening further.
  • Meanwhile, Fed policymakers are lined up to provide fresh guidance on interest rates this week. Policymakers are expected to maintain the argument that interest rates need to remain higher for long enough until they get evidence that inflation will sustainably return to the desired rate of 2%.

Technical Analysis: Gold price rebounds to $2,400

Gold price trades sideways inside Tuesday’s trading range around $2,380. The upside in the precious metal remains limited as momentum oscillators are cooling down after turning extremely overbought. The 14-period Relative Strength Index (RSI) on the daily chart drops slightly after peaking around 85.00. however, the broader-term demand is intact as the RSI remains in the bullish range of 60.00-80.00. 

On the downside, April 5 low near $2,268 and March 21 high at $2,223 will be major support areas.

Interest rates FAQs

Interest rates are charged by financial institutions on loans to borrowers and are paid as interest to savers and depositors. They are influenced by base lending rates, which are set by central banks in response to changes in the economy. Central banks normally have a mandate to ensure price stability, which in most cases means targeting a core inflation rate of around 2%. If inflation falls below target the central bank may cut base lending rates, with a view to stimulating lending and boosting the economy. If inflation rises substantially above 2% it normally results in the central bank raising base lending rates in an attempt to lower inflation.

Higher interest rates generally help strengthen a country’s currency as they make it a more attractive place for global investors to park their money.

Higher interest rates overall weigh on the price of Gold because they increase the opportunity cost of holding Gold instead of investing in an interest-bearing asset or placing cash in the bank. If interest rates are high that usually pushes up the price of the US Dollar (USD), and since Gold is priced in Dollars, this has the effect of lowering the price of Gold.

The Fed funds rate is the overnight rate at which US banks lend to each other. It is the oft-quoted headline rate set by the Federal Reserve at its FOMC meetings. It is set as a range, for example 4.75%-5.00%, though the upper limit (in that case 5.00%) is the quoted figure. Market expectations for future Fed funds rate are tracked by the CME FedWatch tool, which shapes how many financial markets behave in anticipation of future Federal Reserve monetary policy decisions.

 

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