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Gold Prices Drop as Powell Offers No Clarification on Rate Cuts

Investing.com - Gold prices fell for a third straight session on Tuesday after Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said nothing in a brief speech to stop traders dialing back their expectations of interest rate cuts.

Gold futures for August delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, fell $6.35, or 0.5%, to $1,393.65 a troy ounce by 10:34 AM ET (14:34 GMT).

The correction in gold began last Friday as a solid U.S. jobs report forced traders to scale back expectations that the Fed would reduce rates by a full half-point at the July 30-31 meeting. Markets have now pushed the odds for a total of three cuts in the remainder of the year back below 50%.

Gold benefits from the prospect of lower interest rates as the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding precious metal decreases. Over $13 trillion in globally traded debt now yields below zero, i.e. less than gold.

Powell refrained from making references to monetary policy in opening remarks delivered to a conference on bank stress testing on Tuesday, but will almost certainly clarify his current outlook when he testifies to Congress on Wednesday and Thursday.

Fed funds futures imply that a 25 basis point cut in interest rates at the next policy meeting is a certainty.

“Powell could either reinforce market expectations for a rate cut or rein them in,” Investing.com analyst Jesse Cohen said. “The level of certainty that the Fed will cut rates in July is far from justified, so I'd be looking for Powell to push back against the dovish message that markets have priced in.”

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s latest Commitments of Traders report - released on Monday (a day later due to the Fourth of July holiday) and covering data through July 2 - showed that long positions in gold had reached their highest level since Sept. 2017, ahead of the U.S. jobs report.

Elsewhere, the World Gold Council said on Tuesday that holdings in global gold-backed ETFs and similar products registered their largest monthly increase in seven years in June as investors priced in a new round of easing from central banks. The inflows helped drive gold to a six-year high of just under $1,440.

In other metals trading, silver futures slipped 0.1% to $15.043 a troy ounce by 10:41 AM ET (14:14 GMT).

Palladium futures fell 1.2% to $1,539.20 an ounce, while sister metal platinum slid 1.3% to $809.70

In base metals, copper traded down 1.4% to $2.621 a pound.

back below 50%

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