By Barani Krishnan
Investing.com - With just two weeks before a potential U.S. interest rate cut, there seems to be little that could suppress gold prices.
The yellow metal largely held its own on Monday against bullish Empire State manufacturing numbers and other positive data out of China, proving solid demand among investors for an alternative store of value in an environment marked by decreasing yields ahead of the expected Federal Reserve rate cut.
Spot gold, reflective of trades in bullion, traded at $1,412.69 per ounce by 2:55 PM ET (18:55 GMT), down $2.82, or 0.2 %, on the day.
But gold futures for August delivery traded on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, settled up $1.30, or 0.01%, at $1,413.50.
“Gold is steady in spite of record equities, and China’s relative economic numbers adding to the growth around the globe,” said George Gero, precious metals analyst at RBC Wealth Management in New York.
“Gold futures still indicate a rate cut and dovish Fed comments are helpful to gold. Traders still buy good dips, so gold has seen bargain hunters active after each major setback recently,” Gero said.
The New York Fed said that its Empire State manufacturing index for July came in at 4.3, compared with -8.6 in June. That bumped up the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a basket of six major currencies. The index gained 0.13% to 96.94 by 3:14 PM ET. An appreciation in the dollar is usually bearish to gold, but not on Monday.
China’s upbeat readings on industrial production, retail sales and capital spending in June offset the worst GDP growth in 27 years during the second quarter. That, too, did not impact gold negatively.
The Fed is widely expected to cut interest rates at the end of the month for the first time in a decade, lowering the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.
As expectations for further policy easing across the globe increase, yields have been dropping on most fixed-income products, even those traditionally seen as high-risk in economic downturns.
Mohamed El-Erian, chief economist at Allianz (DE:ALVG), tweeted that “even some high yield (‘junk’) bonds now trade at negative yields -- ie, creditors PAY for the privilege of financing companies with notable default risk."
More than $13 trillion of bonds worldwide currently carry negative yields.
John Reade, chief market strategist at the World Gold Council, suggested that, while gold has essentially been range-bound for the last three weeks, some of its technical factors are improving.
Reade said that “the extreme overbought condition saw in June has moderated a lot”, while the “50-day moving average is climbing, making gold look less extended."