BULLION LATEST 04/01: Gold prices fall on strong US data, FOMC minutes

Gold prices were down in the Asian morning trading session on Thursday January 4 on strong US economic data and the release of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) minutes overnight.

The spot gold price was recently quoted at $1,307.20/1,307.55 per oz, down $3.55 from the previous trading day’s close. Trade has ranged from $1,305.20 to $1,311.20 per oz so far today.

Minutes from the FOMC December meeting showed that its members expected United States GDP to grow 2.5% due to tax cut reforms, up from an earlier estimate of 2.1%.

“Most participants indicated that prospective changes in federal tax policy were a factor that led them to boost their projections of real GDP growth over the next couple of years,” the minutes stated.

However, the committee at the meeting voted to increase its benchmark interest rate a quarter point to 1.25% to 1.5%.

On data, US ISM manufacturing index for December rose to 59.7 from 58.20 in November.

Dollar index on Thursday morning down 0.03 to 92.19.

“The recent upside largely reflects a weaker dollar, which may surprise, given the passing of the tax reform bill and the mid-December interest rate increase by the Fed. However, both events had been largely priced in, while for 2018, the consensus is that the Fed will maintain a relatively dovish stance,” Metal Focus said in a note.

" Finally, improving economic growth outside the US, for example in Europe, has also contributed to the dollar losing ground (especially towards end-2017) on a trade-weighted basis,”, it added.

“Other key questions for gold in 2018 will be how quickly developed economies can normalise interest rates after more than a decade of monetary largesse, how much further can global equity market rallies extend, what will be the longer term impact of the Trump tax reforms on corporates and on US government debt levels and when will inflation finally start to pick up,” said Mitsuibishi Corporation International said in its weekly precious metals report.

“Add to this the myriad risks and uncertainties in the world economy, holding gold as a defensive play in 2018 may make more sense for investors,” it said.

Silver and PGMS mixed

  • In the other precious metals, the spot silver price was down $0.080 at $17.000 to $17.020 per oz. Platinum was down $2 to $944/949 per oz while palladium was up $5.5 to $1084/1089 per oz.
  • On the Shanghai Futures Exchange, gold for June delivery was recently at 276.15 yuan ($42.49) per gram, and the June silver was at 3,915 yuan per kilogram

Currency moves and data releases

  • In other commodities, the Brent crude oil spot price was down $0.02 at to $67.89 per barrel and the Texas light sweet crude oil spot price was up $0.04 at $61.84 per barrel.
  • In equities, the Shanghai Composite Index was up 0.41% to 3382.9.
  • In data, major economies including Britain, Spain, Italy, French and Germany are set to release final service PMI numbers for December; in the US unemployment claims, final service PMI and crude oil storage are key numbers to watch.
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