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Gold hits new record high on Fed rate cut bets

By AFP - Apr 02,2024 - Last updated at Apr 02,2024

Gold bullion bars are pictured after being inspected and polished at the ABC Refinery in Sydney on August 5, 2020 (AFP file photo)

HONG KONG — Gold hit another fresh record high on Monday as investors grow confident that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates this year, even after data showed a slight uptick in a key inflation report.

The precious metal has enjoyed healthy buying interest this year as the US central bank hints at an easing of credit conditions.

On Monday it hit a new high of $2,256.44, according to Bloomberg News.

On Friday the closely watched personal consumption expenditures (PCE) index — the Fed's preferred gauge of inflation — showed a small on-year rise in March compared with February, though the core reading eased slightly.

Powell said the report was "pretty much in line with our expectations" and decision-makers were on track to hit their long-term inflation target of 2 per cent.

He said that while the recent inflation data was higher than the Fed would have liked, the February figures were "definitely more along the lines of what we want to see".

The data appeared to have little impact on traders' expectations for a June interest rate cut, though Powell warned they were unlikely to fall to the levels seen after the 2008 global financial crisis.

Adding to the upward pressure on prices is its demand as a safe haven in times of turmoil owing to growing geopolitical tensions, with concerns that Israel's war on Hamas in Gaza will spread further.

An air strike in Lebanon on Sunday stoked further tensions, with Israel saying a Hizbollah missile unit commander had been "eliminated".

Israel and the Iran-backed group have been exchanging near-daily cross-border fire for months.

Meanwhile, traders are also keeping a close eye on developments in the long-running Ukraine conflict.

Because bullion does not generate any interest, it benefits when central banks lower borrowing costs as its safe-haven status makes it more attractive to investors.

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