(Mining.com)-Gold ticked higher on Wednesday as signs of cooling inflation bolstered bets that a pause in US rate increases was imminent, although traders are still positioned for one more hike next month.
Spot gold was up 0.2% at $2,007.22 per ounce by 11:45 a.m. EDT, holding above the key $2,000 level. Three-month gold futures also rose 0.2% to $2,022.00 per ounce in New York.
The yellow metal drew strength from a slide in both the dollar and benchmark yields as the latest US data showed some encouraging signs in the fight against inflation.
US Consumer Price Index (CPI) climbed 0.1% in March after advancing 0.4% in February, compared with a forecast of 0.2% gain in a Reuters poll. But in the 12 months through March, the core CPI gained 5.6%, after rising 5.5% on the same basis in February.
“The risks of not raising rates enough far exceeds over-tightening so the Fed is probably going to go forward with the quarter-point rate hike, the core justifies it,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.
“There’s still a tremendous amount of risk on the table, so gold should still see some strong flows headed its way,” he added.
Markets are pricing in a 67% chance of a 25-basis-point rate hike in the May meeting, followed by 2-to-1 bets of a pause in June. Traders now await the minutes of the Fed’s March meeting due later in the day.
“The Fed minutes will be closely scrutinized for key insight into how policymakers evaluated the need for higher rates despite the turmoil in the banking sector,” said Lukman Otunuga, senior research analyst at FXTM.
(With files from Reuters)