Gold price (XAU/USD) has extended its correction on Wednesday as a hawkish commentary from Federal Reserve (Fed) Governor Christopher Waller has casted doubts about a rate cut by the central bank in the March meeting. Fed policymakers have been favouring interest rates to remain higher for longer, defying market expectations, amid a lack of confidence in inflation returning towards the 2% target in a timely and sustainable manner.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) data for December indicated that the last leg of high price pressures is quite challenging for Fed policymakers, likely due to steady labor market conditions and decent consumer spending momentum. A quick rate cut decision by the Fed can lead to persistence in inflationary pressures and dampen the work done to achieve price stability.
Later in the day, the performance of the US Dollar, Treasury yields and bullions will be guided by the United States Retail Sales and Industrial Production data for December. The chances for the Fed cutting interest rates in March could ease further if the Retail Sales report comes in stronger than projected.
Gold price continues its downside below $2,020 after Fed Waller’s hawkish remarks about interest rates. The near-term demand for Gold is not bullish anymore as price has dropped below the 20-day Exponential Moving Average (EMA), which trades around $2,036. The yellow metal has found interim support after sliding to near the 50-day EMA, which oscillates near $2,017. The 14-period Relative Strength Index (RSI) is declining towards 40.00, which could offer some cushion. However, a breakdown below the same will lead to the activation of bearish momentum.
Gold has played a key role in human’s history as it has been widely used as a store of value and medium of exchange. Currently, apart from its shine and usage for jewelry, the precious metal is widely seen as a safe-haven asset, meaning that it is considered a good investment during turbulent times. Gold is also widely seen as a hedge against inflation and against depreciating currencies as it doesn’t rely on any specific issuer or government.
Central banks are the biggest Gold holders. In their aim to support their currencies in turbulent times, central banks tend to diversify their reserves and buy Gold to improve the perceived strength of the economy and the currency. High Gold reserves can be a source of trust for a country’s solvency. Central banks added 1,136 tonnes of Gold worth around $70 billion to their reserves in 2022, according to data from the World Gold Council. This is the highest yearly purchase since records began. Central banks from emerging economies such as China, India and Turkey are quickly increasing their Gold reserves.
Gold has an inverse correlation with the US Dollar and US Treasuries, which are both major reserve and safe-haven assets. When the Dollar depreciates, Gold tends to rise, enabling investors and central banks to diversify their assets in turbulent times. Gold is also inversely correlated with risk assets. A rally in the stock market tends to weaken Gold price, while sell-offs in riskier markets tend to favor the precious metal.
The price can move due to a wide range of factors. Geopolitical instability or fears of a deep recession can quickly make Gold price escalate due to its safe-haven status. As a yield-less asset, Gold tends to rise with lower interest rates, while higher cost of money usually weighs down on the yellow metal. Still, most moves depend on how the US Dollar (USD) behaves as the asset is priced in dollars (XAU/USD). A strong Dollar tends to keep the price of Gold controlled, whereas a weaker Dollar is likely to push Gold prices up.