By Ambar Warrick
Investing.com — Gold prices steadied in early Asian trade on Monday, holding on to key levels after hawkish comments from Federal Reserve officials on the path of interest rate hikes triggered a heavy dose of profit taking in the prior session.
The yellow metal sank nearly 2% on Friday after noted Fed hawk, Governor Christopher Waller, called for more monetary tightening even as recent data showed that U.S. inflation retreated steadily from 40-year highs hit last year.
His comments offset recent speculation that the Fed was close to hitting its terminal rate, and that a pause in its current rate hike cycle was imminent. Softer-than-expected inflation data and signs of a slowing labor market had furthered this notion in recent weeks, which had triggered stellar gains in gold.
Gold futures fell 0.1% to $2,002.49 an ounce, while gold futures steadied at $2,015.25 an ounce by 20:03 ET (00:03 GMT). Both instruments had strengthened to trade about $40 away from record highs last week.
The yellow metal has been largely underpinned by safe haven demand over the past month, also spurred in part by the collapse of several U.S. banks. But while fears of a bigger crisis appear to have eased, expectations of a U.S. recession this year have also fueled inflows into gold.
The dollar recovered slightly from recent losses following Waller’s comments, and was trading flat against a basket of currencies on Monday. Recent weakness in the greenback has also aided commodities priced in the dollar.
Analysts at Citi said in a note that while a new record high remained a key hurdle for gold, prices of the yellow metal are likely to “grind higher.”
The bank also hiked its 2023 average gold price forecast by 7.9% to $2,050 an ounce.
Gold and other non-yielding assets were hit hard by rising U.S. interest rates through 2022, but recovered sharply this year as bulls looked to the end of future rate hikes. Fed Fund futures prices still show that markets are positioning for one more hike in May, followed by a pause in June.
Other precious metals also steadied on Monday, with platinum and silver futures losing 0.2% and 0.1%, respectively.
Among industrial metals, copper prices were flat in anticipation of key economic data from China this week, which is expected to provide more cues on an economic recovery in the world’s largest copper importer.
Copper futures fell 0.1% to $4.1075 a pound.
China first-quarter GDP data is due on Tuesday, and is expected to show that growth bounced back after a three-year lull.