Gold prices edged up on Friday ahead of a long holiday weekend as the latest US inflation data showed signs of cooling, but not enough to erase concerns of more Federal Reserve rate hikes.
Spot gold rose 0.6% to $1,802.33 per ounce by 11:50 a.m. ET, representing a weekly gain of roughly the same percentage point. The precious metal is coming off its worst week in a month after more hawkish messaging from the Fed. US gold futures were up 0.8% to $1,810.30 per ounce.
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New inflation data showed that US consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the nation’s economic activity, edged up 0.1% in November after climbing 0.4% in October, while inflation cooled further.
“With inflation close to being in line with expectations, gold prices were higher on fresh speculative buying ahead of the new year on bets that the bigger funds might move to the long side of gold at the beginning of the year,” Jim Wyckoff, senior analyst at Kitco Metals, told Reuters.
Bullion dipped over 1% on Thursday after the latest US GDP data highlighted the country’s economy rebounded faster than previously estimated, potentially setting the Fed on a keener path to fight inflation.
Gold prices are on track for a second consecutive yearly decline, falling nearly 2%, with prices down more than $250 since March highs as central banks hiked interest rates to tame inflation.
However, “you’re going to see a better demand picture for the metals in 2023. Inflation could still be problematic, but central banks are going to, around mid-year, start to let off the gas and that’s going to be supportive for the metals markets,” Wyckoff noted.
Markets also kept a close tab on rising covid-19 cases in top gold consumer China, which could have an impact on physical demand.
(With files from Reuters)