Gold scales new record peaks as rate cut bets burnish appeal

By Anjana Anil

(Reuters) – Gold raced to an all-time high on Thursday, extending its record run this week as increasing bets for U.S. monetary easing added to sustained tailwinds for bullion from central bank buying and safe-haven demand.

Spot gold was up 0.4% at $2,156.93 per ounce as of 02:00 p.m. ET (1900 GMT), hitting record high of $2,164.09 during the Asian trading hours.

U.S. gold futures settled 0.2% higher at $2,165.2.

Powell said the Fed is “not far” from getting enough confidence that inflation is heading to the Fed’s 2% goal to be able to start interest-rate cuts.

Traders are now pricing in a 74% chance of a June rate cut, versus around 63% on Feb. 29, the CME’s Fedwatch Tool showed.

A low-interest rate environment translates into reduced opportunity cost of holding non-yielding gold and weighs on the dollar, making bullion cheaper for overseas buyers. [USD/] [US/]

Rate cut bets are driving gold prices and everyone is expecting they will come, said World Gold Council market strategist Joseph Cavatoni.

Central banks’ gold purchases also continue to be very strong, Cavatoni added.

Further market direction could come from Friday’s U.S. non-farm payrolls report.

In physical markets, the price surge was expected to dampen consumption during the Indian wedding season, but top buyer China could see robust safe-haven demand. [GOL/AS]

Geopolitical risks are also the major driver for bullion, said James Steel, precious metals analyst at HSBC.

“We only have a narrow group of assets that investors can really call safe haven, and gold is number one amongst them.”

Bullion has climbed over $300 since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.

However, the latest rally in gold has come alongside a rally in riskier assets. [.N]

Silver added 0.6% to $24.31, while platinum climbed 1.3% to $919.00 per ounce.

Palladium slipped 0.5% to $1,037.00 after surging as much as 12% on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Anjana Anil and Anushree Mukherjee in Bengaluru, writing by Arpan Varghese; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli, Tasim Zahid and Shweta Agarwal)

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