Gold dipped in Asia on Friday in cautious trade as investors mulled the latest Fed minutes and comments from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin who said he hopes for a tax package to pass Congress by August, an event that if it comes to pass would likely have a major role in forecasting rate hike paths this year.
Gold for April delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange fell 0.12% to $1,249.85 a troy ounce. Copper futures gained 0.57% to $2.655 pound as investors kept a close eye on labor disputes at major mines in Indonesia and Chile where work has stopped for nearly two weeks.
Overnight, gold futures raced to a 15-week high on Thursday, after the minutes of the most recent Federal Reserve policy meeting, was more dovish-than-expected, weakening hopes of a March interest rate hike.
Gold started the session in the ascendancy, buoyed by a slump in the dollar, after Wednesday’s Fed minutes dampened hopes that a rate hike is in play for March. Some Fed members’ appeared to be reluctant to support a raise interest rates, as they await further details on President Trump’s economic plans in order to assess how Trump’s policies would impact economic growth.
Gold is sensitive to moves in U.S. rates, which lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion, while boosting the dollar in which it is priced.
Gold continued its march higher later during session, as the latest U.S. labour market data, added to the greenback woes, after the U.S. Department of Labor said initial jobless claims increased by 6,000 to 244,000 in the week ending February 18 from the previous week’s revised total of 238,000 compared to analysts’ estimates of a rise by 2,000 to 241,000 last week.