Gold hit a new all-time high today at $2148 per ounce, buoyed by hopes of lower interest rates, yet prices erased earlier gains to trade below $2060. The yellow metal jumped more than 1.75% on Friday as markets interpreted Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s comments that U.S. interest rates have peaked.
Powell said it was clear that U.S. monetary policy was slowing the economy as expected with a benchmark overnight interest rate “well into restrictive territory.” However, he revealed that “the data will tell us if we need to do more” rate hikes.
While markets are seeing nearly no chance of a rate hike this month, traders see a chance of 60% the Fed would cut rates by March, compared with 21% just over a week ago, according to the CME’s FedWatch tool.
The key focus will be on economic data from the U.S. this week, most notably Friday’s U.S. non-farm payrolls figures for November. The NFP is usually used a guide for the Fed about the health of the labor market and the overall economy. American employers may have created 185,000 jobs in November, following a job creation pace of 150,000 in October, according to analysts’ projections.
Another important report also due on Friday will be U.S. consumer sentiment that includes the 1-year and 5-year inflation expectations.
Gold has rallied over the past three weeks, amid geopolitical tensions in Gaza, especially as Israel expands its military operations across the Strip after a seven-day truce between Israel and Hamas. In addition, the dollar index, which tracks the greenback’s movements versus a basket of major currencies, fell to its lowest level in more than three months, while the U.S. 10-year Treasury yields plunged to the lowest level since early September.