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Gold Defies Strong PPI; Creeps up on Rate Cut Hopes

By Barani Krishnan

Investing.com – Gold longs share Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s feeling for a rate cut, perhaps more than many think.

After a knee-jerk drop early on Friday, both bullion and futures of gold advanced as even a stronger-than-expected reading for producer price inflation was unable to suppress the bullish build in the precious metal amid bets for the Fed easing in the next three weeks.

Spot gold, reflective of trades in bullion, traded at $1,413.72 per ounce by 2:16 PM ET (18:00 GMT), up $9.88, or 0.7%, on the day.

Gold futures for August delivery, traded on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, settled up $5.50, or 0.4%, at $1,412.20.

But for the week, both bullion and Comex prices remain about 1% off highs hit earlier in the week on the back of Powell's Congressional testimony.

Gold prices moved forcefully into $1,400 territory on Wednesday after Powell’s remarks on business and economic conditions raised gold bulls’ conviction that a rate cut of at least 25 basis points was almost a certainty at the forthcoming July 30-31 Fed meeting.

Powell has been under tremendous pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump to deliver a rate cut soon, with the president indicating he could even fire him if he doesn’t. The Fed chief has maintained that he will not be politically cowed and or resign, even if Trump demands it.

Investors have rushed into gold over the past two months, pushing the yellow metal from $1,200 levels to $1,400, as talk of a rate cut that will weaken the dollar and boost gold came into play. The dollar index, which pits gold against a basket of currencies, has fallen some 0.5% over the past three sessions.

Data on Friday showed that headline inflation at factory gates was up 1.7% from a year earlier in June, topping expectations of 1.6%. The core annualized reading of the data that removes volatile food and energy components unexpectedly held steady at 2.3%.

The readings follow a similar picture painted Thursday by core consumer prices that unexpectedly ticked higher in June.

Although these stronger-than-expected inflation readings are not likely to be considered a game changer for the Fed, they do call into question Powell’s concerns that weak inflation could be more persistent than originally expected.

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