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Gold ekes out gains as markets await Powell speech

  • Powell to address WSJ conference at 1705 GMT.
  • US weekly jobless claims rise less than expected.
  • Gold fell to its lowest since June 2020 on Wednesday.
Published March 4, 2021
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Gold prices edged higher on Thursday as investors adopted a cautious stance ahead of remarks from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell that might provide further clarity on a recent spike in US Treasury yields.

Spot gold was up 0.2% at $1,714.61 per ounce by 09:50 ET (1450 GMT), having dropped on Wednesday to its lowest since June 9 at $1,701.40.

US gold futures eased 0.3% to $1,711.40.

"The market continues to be quite concerned about higher yields, and we are waiting for Jerome Powell speech," said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategies at TD Securities.

"In many ways that'll (Powell's remarks) give us a bit of certainty which way to go, mainly because the big criticism the market has is that the central bank is not really telling us if they are categorically committed to keeping real rates as low as they can be."

Powell is due to speak at a Wall Street Journal conference at 12:05 p.m. ET (1705 GMT), with markets watching for any hints of concern about last week's jump in bond yields.

The recent rise in US bond yields have eroded gold's appeal as an inflation hedge by increasing the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion. Gold is down more than 9% so far this year.

"It is the ten-year yield that's driving gold at the moment and we would argue that the market is taking too short-term a view and that the excess liquidity in the system remains medium-term supportive," said StoneX analyst Rhona O'Connell in a note.

The US Senate is expected to begin debating President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package on Thursday after agreeing to phase out payments to higher-income Americans.

Meanwhile, data showed the number of Americans filing for jobless benefits rose last week.

Silver fell 0.3% to $25.99 per ounce, while palladium rose 0.3% to $2,361.26. Platinum was steady at 1,166.81 per ounce.

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