Gold prices moved little on Friday, but stuck to key levels as a string of weak economic readings brewed concerns over slowing growth and fed into haven demand for the yellow metal. While gold prices were pressured by some strength in the dollar this week, softer-than-expected manufacturing and employment readings weighed on the greenback in recent sessions, while also fueling fears of a potential recession this year. This benefited bullion prices, helping them stay above the key $2,000 level. But hawkish signals from the Federal Reserve and other central banks limited any major gains in the yellow metal. Spot gold fell 0.1% to $2,002.62 an ounce, while gold futures fell 0.3% to $2,013.80 an ounce by 21:53 ET (01:53 GMT). Both instruments were set to end the week largely unchanged. The Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index sank more than expected in April, data showed on Thursday, while weekly jobless claims rose more than expected. U.S. home sales also slowed substantially in March. The readings pushed up concerns that economic growth in the world’s largest economy was cooling amid high inflation and interest rates. Hotter-than-expected inflation readings from the UK and euro zone also pushed up expectations for more rate hikes from their respective central banks, pointing to increased economic pressure in the coming months.
While The Prospect of Higher Interest Rates Bodes Poorly.
for non-yielding assets such as gold, concerns over the ensuing economic slowdown kept the yellow metal relatively well-bid. Gold had a stellar run through March as the collapse of several U.S. banks greatly boosted safe haven demand. While regulatory intervention stemmed fears of a bigger banking collapse, markets remained wary of more economic scars. Expectations of an eventual pause in U.S. interest rate hikes also saw gold largely overtake the dollar as a preferred safe haven, although several Fed officials have called for more rate hikes to curb high inflation. Other precious metals moved in a tight range on Friday, with platinum futures up 0.2%, while silver lost 0.1%. Among industrial metals, copper prices were nursing steep losses for the week as signs of slowing manufacturing activity across the globe greatly dented the red metal’s appeal.