Gold prices rose to a two-week high on Thursday as weaker-than-expected U.S. business activity data spurred bets that the Federal Reserve will have limited headroom to keep raising interest rates.
Prices were up for a fifth straight session, recovering further from a five-month low hit earlier in August as the dollar and Treasury yields retreated from recent peaks. Spot gold also comfortably retook the key $1,900 an ounce level.
But traders still remained on edge ahead of the Jackson Hole Symposium, which begins later in the day, and is expected to offer more cues on U.S. monetary policy.
Spot gold rose 0.3% to $1,920.67 an ounce, while gold futures expiring in December rose 0.1% to $1,948.75 an ounce by 00:07 ET (04:07 GMT).
Dollar, yields cool on disappointing PMIs, Jackson Hole awaited
The dollar fell sharply from a two-month high in overnight trade, while Treasury yields fell from multi-decade peaks as purchasing managers’ index data showed that U.S. business activity barely grew in August.
The reading spurred bets that worsening economic conditions in the U.S. will give the Fed little headroom to hike rates further- a scenario that could offer some relief to metal markets.
But U.S. rates are widely expected to remain higher for longer, presenting limited upside for gold, given that higher rates increase the opportunity cost of investing in bullion.
This trade battered gold over the past year, and is expected to limit any major gains in the yellow metal.
Focus is now largely on an address by Fed Chair Jerome Powell at the Jackson Hole Symposium on Friday, with analysts warning that sticky inflation and a strong labor market could still elicit a hawkish outlook from the Fed chair.
Copper benefits from weaker dollar, but soft PMIs weigh
Among industrial metals, copper prices fell slightly on Thursday, with futures down 0.2% to $3.8040 a pound.
Prices of the red metal rose sharply over the past two sessions, benefiting from a softer dollar and hopes of more stimulus measures in China.
But this rally was somewhat stymied by weak PMI prints from the U.S. and euro zone, which showed that manufacturing activity in the world’s largest economies was slowing amid high interest rates.
Focus is now squarely on PMI readings from China, due next week, to gauge economic strength in the world’s largest copper importer.