Gold, Copper Head for Sharp Weekly Losses as Fed Rate Risks Increase

By Ambar Warrick Gold and Copper prices moved little on Friday, and were set for steep weekly losses as growing expectations of more sharp interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve boosted the dollar and dented metal markets.

Spot gold prices were unchanged around $1,664.31 an ounce, while gold futures fell 0.3% to $1,673.15 an ounce by 20:21 ET (00:21 GMT). Both instruments plummeted around 2% on Thursday, and were set to lose about 3% for the week, their worst performance in over two months. 

Analysts had warned of more losses in gold after it slipped below $1,700- a key support level- earlier this week. 

Expectations of an at least 75 basis point rate hike by the Fed skyrocketed after U.S. inflation showed little signs of cooling in August. Signs of strength in the labor market also pointed to the Fed having enough space to keep raising rates at a fast pace. 

10-year Treasury yields flirted with 15-year highs, while the dollar index hovered near a 20-year peak on Friday. The two have by far been the biggest weights on bullion prices this year. 

Gold tumbled from highs hit during the onset of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, as a series of interest rate hikes by the Fed saw investors seek better yields in the dollar and sovereign debt. 

With the Fed set to keep tightening policy, pressure on gold is widely expected to continue for the remainder of the year.

Among industrial metals, copper prices traded flat on Friday, and were headed for a weekly loss of over 3%. 

Losses this week, triggered by more fears of weakening demand in China, largely offset any gains made on the prospect of tightening supply.

Copper marked strong gains last week as a strike in Escondida, the world’s largest copper mine, pointed to tighter supply for the rest of the year.

But fears of a global economic recession severely dented the demand outlook for the red metal. 

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