Gold Stays Steady Close to $1200

London (Dec 19)  Gold is showing little movement on Friday, continuing the lack of activity we have seen for most of the week. In the European session, the spot price stands at $1197.48. There are no US releases on Friday, so traders can expect a quiet day from XAU/USD as we head into the weekend.

In the US, employment numbers continued to impress, as unemployment claims dropped to 289 thousand, the lowest level in six weeks. The easily beat the estimate of 297 thousand. The news was not as good on the manufacturing front, as the Philly Fed Manufacturing Index slid to 24.5 points, down from 40.6 points in November. The November reading was unusually high, and the markets had expected a sharp downturn, with the estimate standing at 26.3 points.

Previous Fed policy statements have usually stated that the Fed would maintain low rates for a “considerable time”, but the December statement changed terminology, saying the Fed would be “patient” before raising rates. In a follow-press conference, Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen was less ambiguous, saying that the Fed was unlikely to raise rates for the “next couple of meetings”. The markets took this to mean that a rate hike is in the works, but not before April. Gold prices remained steady after the Fed statement, but as an interest rate hike by mid-2015 seems likely, there is room for the dollar to make gains against gold.

Source: FXstreet