Gold prices steadied near one-month lows on Wednesday as worsening market sentiment and the prospect of more Federal Reserve rate hikes pushed investors into the dollar.
Copper prices extended their recent losses as disappointing trade data from top exporter China pointed to weakening demand for the red metal.
Investors stuck to the greenback as a preferred safe haven ahead of the inflation reading, as global risk sentiment deteriorated after Moody’s downgraded several U.S. banks and as Chinese trade data disappointed.
Non-yielding assets such as gold and other precious metals logged steep losses this week. Spot gold steadied at a one-month low of $1,926.20 an ounce, while gold futures expiring in December were flat at $1,960.05 an ounce by 20:12 ET (00:12 GMT). Both instruments were trading nearly 1% lower for the week.
U.S. CPI, Fed speakers to offer more cues
Focus is now squarely on U.S. CPI data for more cues on the world’s largest economy and the path of monetary policy.
Inflation is expected to have risen slightly in July from the prior month, remaining sticky and potentially attracting more interest rate hikes by the Fed.
Comments from Fed officials are also due in the coming days, after officials flagged a mixed outlook on more rate hikes earlier this week. So far, the Fed has signaled that it will raise rates at least once more this year.
But the bank also signaled that rates will remain higher for longer- a scenario that bodes poorly for non-yielding assets such as gold. Rising interest rates push up the opportunity cost of holding such assets.
Copper under pressure from China weakness
Copper futures fell 0.1% to $3.7743 a pound, hovering near their weakest level in nearly a month. They were also trading 2.4% lower so far this week.
Copper imports to China also fell during the month, indicating that economic ructions in the world’s largest copper importer were now beginning to affect its appetite for the red metal.
China is struggling to shore up a slowing post-COVID economic recovery, and is likely to signal more stimulus measures in the coming months.
Markets are also awaiting more cues on China from inflation data due later on Wednesday.