Gold price relatively flat, as mixed data provides few hints on Sept rate hike

August 14, 2015

San Francisco (Aug 14)  Gold futures inched down in Friday's session but still ended the week broadly higher, as a wave of mixed U.S. economic data provided little indication on whether the Federal Reserve could raise short-term interest rates in September.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold for December delivery traded in a tight range between $1,111.50 and $1,120.40 a troy ounce before settling at 1,113.00, down 2.60 or 0.23%. For the week, though, gold futures rose by more than 1.5% after completing a three-day winning streak earlier in the week. The precious metal is still down by nearly 4% over the last month as the aftershocks from a 10-day skid in mid-July, its longest losing streak in nearly two decades, continue to be felt.

Gold likely gained support at 1,079.20, the low from July 31 and was met with resistance at 1,126.30, the high from August 13.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said Friday that its Producer Price Index for final demand (PPI-FD) rose by 0.2 for the month of July, as a spike in trade services pushed wholesale prices up moderately. Analysts expected an increase of 0.1 in the headline reading for the month. In spite of the monthly gains, the index still remained down by 0.8 on a year-over-year basis.

The core PPI-FD, which strips out food and energy prices, ticked up by 0.3 for July even as yearly growth decelerated. For the month of July, the reading increased by 0.6, below significant gains of 0.8 a month earlier. The data did not account for the continuing decline in oil prices over the first two weeks of August.

Separately, the Federal Reserve's monthly index of industrial production rose by 0.6% in July on the back of a 10.6% surge in motor vehicle production. Economists anticipated an increase of 0.4% on the month. In addition, manufacturing jumped by 0.8% on the month above analysts' forecasts for a 0.4% gain.

Elsewhere, the University of Michigan's Consumer Survey Center said U.S. consumer sentiment for the first two weeks of August remained virtually unchanged from its final reading in July. University of Michigan's Consumer Sentiment Index for mid-August stood at 92.9, above estimates of 92.5, but below the final July level of 93.1. Within the index, the expectations component fell 0.3 to 83.8 – a level still considered fairly strong following significant gains earlier in the summer. The component provides insight on the nation's long-term employment outlook.

Gold, which is not attached to dividends or interest rates, struggles to compete with high-yield bearing assets in periods of rising rates.

USD/CNY fell 0.007 or 0.11% to 6.3912, two days after touching down to fresh four-year lows. Earlier this week, the People's Bank of China rattled global markets by devaluing the yuan by 1.9% -- its largest amount in more than a decade. China is the world's largest producer and second-largest consumer of the precious metal.

The U.S. Dollar Index, which measures the strength of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, rose more than 0.2% to an intraday high of 96.69, before falling back to 96.48 in U.S. afternoon trading. By comparison, the index soared to a four-month high at 98.40 late last week.

Dollar-denominated commodities such as gold become more expensive for foreign investors when the dollar appreciates.

Silver for September delivery fell 0.179 or 1.16% to 15.220.

Copper for September delivery dipped 0.02 or 0.06% to 2.351 a pound.


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