By Barani Krishnan
Investing.com -- Gold bulls hoping to creep closer to $1,800 an ounce found themselves more than $50 below that target at Friday’s close, after the head of the Federal Reserve signaled no immediate pause in the central bank’s inflation-busting rate hikes.
“Gold is vulnerable here as the Treasury yields could gain further momentum next week if the labor market remains healthy,” said Ed Moya, analyst at online trading platform OANDA. “The risks of one last major move lower remains for gold.”
The yield on the benchmark 10-Year Treasury note edged towards Wednesday’s two-month high after Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank will keep at “forceful” rate hikes until its fight against inflation is done.
The benchmark gold futures contract on New York’s Comex, December, settled at $1,762.90 per ounce, down $21.60, or 1.2%. For the week, December gold fell 0.7%.
The spot price of bullion, more closely followed than futures by some traders, was at $1,737.65 by 15:45 ET (19:45 GMT), down $21.11, or 1.2%. For the week, spot gold was down 0.6%.
“If spot gold’s low of 1735 fails to hold, the next support will be $1,727 and $1,710,” said Sunil Kumar Dixit, chief technical strategist at SKCharting.com. “Much will depend on how the market digests the after-effects of Powell’s speech from next week.”
Powell said policy-makers at the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee had an “overarching focus” to bring inflation back down to the central bank’s annual 2% goal.
The Fed has carried out four rate hikes since March, bringing key lending rates from nearly zero two years ago to as high as 2.5% by July.
“We are taking forceful and rapid steps to moderate demand so that it comes into better alignment with supply, and to keep inflation expectations anchored. We will keep at it until we are confident the job is done,” Powell said in a speech broadcast live from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where the central bank was holding its annual symposium on the economy.
The speech was one of Powell’s strongest ever, reflecting the onerous burden of the Fed under his watch in curbing inflation retreating ever so slowly from four-decade highs.
Powell’s comments also came after data on Friday showed a U.S. inflation indicator closely followed by the Fed growing at 6.3% in the year to July from a previous 6.8% year-on-year in June.
The so-called Personal Consumption Expenditure Index, or PCE Index, fell by 0.1% for July from 1% in June, the Commerce Department data showed.
Until Friday’s publication of the PCE Index, a broader gauge of inflation called the Consumer Price Index, or CPI, remained at more than four times the Fed’s annual target of 2%. The CPI grew by 8.5% during the year to July. Prior to that, it expanded at its fastest pace in four decades, growing 9.1% during the year to June.
Gold remains a hedge against inflation for some of the most serious investors, although it hasn’t been able to live up to that billing since hitting record highs above $2,100 in August 2020.