Gold prices rally before Fed minutes, copper rises on tighter supplies

Investing.com-- Gold prices rose sharply on Tuesday, tracking a weaker dollar and Treasury yields as markets priced in no more rate hikes from the Federal Reserve, with the minutes of central bank’s recent meeting now due later in the day.

Among industrial metals, copper prices sat on strong gains amid improving sentiment towards major importer China, while disruptions at major mines in Peru and Panama also pointed to tighter supplies. 

Gold has been on a tear in recent sessions, with prices once again trading just below the $2,000 an ounce level as the prospect of a pause in the Fed’s rate hike cycle pointed to easing pressure on the yellow metal.

Spot gold rose 0.7% to $1,992.17 an ounce, while gold futures expiring in December rose 0.7% to $1,994.00 an ounce by 00:06 ET (05:06 GMT). 

Fed minutes awaited, but rate hikes seen no more 

Markets were now focused squarely on the minutes of the Fed’s October meeting, which were due later on Tuesday. 

While the central bank is expected to reiterate its stance on higher-for-longer rates, a slew of weak inflation and labor readings saw traders betting that the Fed had little room to push rates higher. 

Fed fund futures prices showed that traders were even pricing in the possibility that the Fed will begin trimming rates by as soon as March 2024. 

Still, the outlook for potentially lower interest rates bodes well for gold, given that it makes returns on the yellow metal appear more attractive. Weakness in the dollar-  which sank to a 2-½ month low on Tuesday- also aided prices of the yellow metal, putting them close to the coveted $2,000 an ounce level. 

Copper rises on China hopes, tighter supplies

Copper prices hit a two-month high on Tuesday, extending recent gains as optimism over more stimulus measures was complemented by growing fears of supply disruptions in Peru and Panama. 

Copper futures rose 0.2% to $3.8157 a pound. 

Chinese media reports said that the government was preparing more policy support for the country’s beleaguered property sector- which is a main driver of copper demand in the country.

On the supply front, union workers at MMG Ltd's (HK:1208) Las Bambas mine in Peru- which is one of the biggest copper mines in the world- were preparing an indefinite strike from next week.

In Panama, Reuters reported that Canadian miner First Quantum Minerals (OTC:FQVLF) was planning to carry out maintenance at its Cobre copper mine, effectively suspending production as coal supplies to the mines were blocked by protestors. 

The moves heralded some disruptions in global copper supplies, tightening markets at a time when demand for the red metal is expected to rise substantially amid growing interest in green energy.

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