By Ambar Warrick
Investing.com-- Gold prices hovered near key support levels on Wednesday, while copper prices fell further as concerns over China and weak economic data soured the demand outlook for the industrial metal.
Metal markets took little support from a weakening US Dollar Index, as concerns over a slowdown in most major economies sapped appetite. The prospect of a sharp interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve next month also kept traders on edge.
Spot gold fell 0.1% to $1,651.76 an ounce, while gold futures fell 0.1% to $1,655.85 an ounce by 19:37 ET (23:37 GMT). Both instruments rose slightly on Tuesday, but were pinned to $1,650- a closely-watched support level.
Bullion prices plummeted from annual highs this year and are now trading in a two-year trough, as rising interest rates ramped up the opportunity cost of holding the yellow metal. Gold has also largely lost its safe haven status this year, with the U.S. dollar racing past the metal.
The near-term outlook for gold remains subdued, with markets pricing in a nearly 100% chance of a 75 basis point interest rate hike by the Fed in November. But pressure on the yellow metal did somewhat ease this week, amid bets that a pronounced economic downturn could force the Fed into softening its hawkish stance.
Expectations that the central bank will enact a smaller rate hike in December grew in recent sessions after a Wall Street Journal report suggested that the Fed was considering such a move.
Among industrial metals, copper prices fell for a third straight session, with concerns over China providing the most selling pressure.
Copper futures fell 0.2% to $3.3972 a pound, after losing over 2% in the last two sessions.
President Xi Jinping’s approval for a third term drove up concerns over more economically-disruptive policies, especially after the Chinese President reiterated the country’s
commitment to its strict zero-COVID policy.
While China’s copper imports remained steady through September, middling GDP data weighed on sentiment towards the country.
Weak manufacturing indicators from the world’s three largest economies, released this week, also painted a dim picture of global industrial activity, boding poorly for copper demand.
But the physical copper market remains tight, especially amid slowing output from Chile and U.S. sanctions on Russian exports.
Focus is now on upcoming U.S. third-quarter GDP data due this week to gauge the impact of rising interest rates on the world’s largest economy.