(Reuters) – As the dollar weakened on Monday, investors awaited imminent U.S. economic data that would provide a clearer picture of the path of interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.
The price was up 0.2 percent at $1844.59 an ounce by 1135 GMT, after hitting its lowest level since late December in the previous session. And U.S. gold futures rose 0.2 percent to $1853.50.
“We expect even higher prices in the coming quarters, but I think gold prices will continue to be volatile in the near term, and US economic data points to a slowdown in economic activity,” said Giovanni Stonovo, an analyst at UBS.
Last week’s economic data provided signs of a slowdown in the U.S. economy and an increase in job openings in the labor market, raising concerns that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates high for longer.
Investors are focused on the Federal Open Market Committee’s January meeting report and US GDP data.
Several Federal Reserve officials indicated last week that more interest rate hikes are needed to keep inflation below the central bank’s 2 percent target.
It fell slightly on Monday from its highest level in more than a month on Friday, making bullion in US dollars more attractive to buyers holding other currencies.
Financial markets now expect the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates below 5.3 percent by July.
Gold is considered a hedge against rising inflation, but higher interest rates increase the opportunity cost of owning the precious metal, which does not provide returns.
As for other precious metals, spot prices were up 0.1 percent at $21.75 an ounce, platinum was up 0.6 percent at $922.29 and up 0.5 percent at $1,505.44.
Market activity on Monday is expected to be relatively subdued due to the President’s Day holiday in the US.
(Prepared by Ahmad Sofi and Amira Zahran for Arab Bulletin – Editing by Marwa Salam)
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