Gold consolidates near 1-month peak on cautious Fed

(Reuters) – Gold steadied near a four-week high on Monday, consolidating gains after the U.S. Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell signalled interest rates are going to remain low for the foreseeable future.

FILE PHOTO: Gold bullion is displayed at GoldSilver Central’s office in Singapore June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

Lower interest rates decrease the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

Spot gold was steady at $1,814.76 per ounce by 0915 GMT, after hitting its highest since Aug. 4 at $1,822.92.

U.S. gold futures edged 0.1% lower to $1,817.50.

“Overall, (the) monetary policy background will remain accommodative and there are uncertainties around COVID-19 Delta variant, Chinese slowdown concerns, geopolitical tensions. All these factors sort of provide bullish backdrop for gold prices,” said Harshal Barot, a senior research consultant for South Asia at Metals Focus.

“Powell laid out a clear distinction between tapering of bond purchases and interest rate hike, even though tapering might start this year, a rate hike is far away,” Barot added.

In a virtual speech at the Jackson Hole economic conference on Friday, Powell offered no signal on when the central bank plans to cut its asset purchases beyond saying it could be “this year” and indicated it would remain cautious in any eventual decision to raise interest rates.

Powell’s dovish statement helped gold gain 1.4% on Friday, while pushing the dollar index to a two-week low. [USD/][EU] [MKTS/GLOB]

Investor focus now shifts to the U.S. nonfarm payroll data for August on Friday, which could shed more light on labour market recovery and influence the Fed’s tapering strategy.

“From a technical point of view gold remains in a positive environment,” said Carlo Alberto De Casa, market analyst at Kinesis.

“We have seen a rebound also on silver, but the technical picture remains anyway more fragile, as the grey metal is still underperforming gold.”

Silver was flat at $24 per ounce, while platinum was steady at $1,007.64. Palladium gained 0.4% to $2,427.18.

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