BUY GOLD prices in London’s wholesale market erased the last of 2018’s previous 4.9% gain on Thursday, falling back near $1300 per ounce after new US inflation data came in stronger than analysts forecast.
The PCE measure of US consumer costs rose 1.7% in January
from the same month last year, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported, holding the same pace of inflation as December.
Separate data from the 19-nation Eurozone meantime put inflation in manufactured goods prices at an 82-month high
despite a slowdown in input costs, with activity across the world’s largest single currency union remaining “robust”.
World stock markets fell again ahead of new US Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell speaking to lawmakers on monetary policy for the second time this week, potentially “dialling back”
his seemingly hawkish tone of Tuesday.
Government bond prices rose, pushing 10-year US Treasury yields down to 2-week lows at 2.83%.
Two-year yields however held firmer near this week’s 9.5-year highs, offering 2.24% per annum.
Trading down to $1305 as the start of New York trading approached, prices to buy gold have lost all but $3 of the New Year’s earlier $60 gains per ounce, retreating as the Dollar rallied from multi-year lows on the currency market.
Platinum fell harder still on Thursday, losing $30 from Monday to hit 3-week lows at $966 per ounce and cut 2018’s gain so far to 4.1%.
Silver was little firmer, also trading near 3-week lows at $16.28 but holding 3.9% down from New Year’s Day.
Since hitting a 2-year high above $21 when the UK’s mid-2016 referendum on quitting the European Union gave a narrow win to Brexit, silver has now retreated 23% in Dollar terms and almost 30% against the Euro.
Gold has meantime lost 5% in Dollars and 14% versus the Euro.
“The return of Chinese physical buyers to the market following the Lunar New Year holiday has helped to support gold prices,” says the latest weekly analysis from strategist Jonathan Butler at Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi.
Demand to buy gold via the Shanghai Gold Exchange’s 99.99 Au contract has, over the last week, totalled 93 tonnes says Butler, beating the first week of last Chinese New Year by more than one-sixth.
“Average prices are only 2% lower than they were in the equivalent period,” he goes on, “which suggests bargain hunting is not the only story – this bodes positively for demand going forward in what is traditionally a quiet season.”
“There was modest demand from onshore Chinese sources [Thursday],” says the latest daily trading note from bullion bar refiners and finance group MKS Pamp.
“The deficit stood at about $21.8 billion last month,” reports Xinhua of the state data, “up from $20.6 billion in December.”
“China might face a trade deficit
[in goods] in the next five to 10 years,” reported the South China Morning Post
in January, quoting former government advisor Zhang Yansheng, now a professor at Renmin University.
Neighboring Taiwan – seen as part of China by Beijing but outside Communist control since the end of WWII – should hold a referendum on declaring full and formal independence
in April 2019, a group of formerly senior and current politicians said in Taipei on Wednesday.
Thursday’s fall in world stock markets saw the EuroStoxx 50 index drop back to unchanged from this time last year, trading more than 6% below its price on 1 March 2015.
Germany’s Dax index has now lost 5.9% from the start of February, while Italy’s MIB has dropped 4.7% and Spain’s Ibex index is down 6.5%.
Commodities fell as a group for the second day running, pulling Brent crude oil down to $64 per barrel even as wholesale natural gas prices held strong amid Europe’s snow and cold snap.