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Gold Prices Forecast: Traders Weighing Rate Cut Delay Against Geopolitical Risks

By:
James Hyerczyk

XAU/USD at critical 50-day MA amid geopolitical tensions and a strong dollar, as CPI data looms over Fed's rate decision.

Gold Prices Forecast

In this article:

Key Points

  • Gold straddles 50-day MA, reflecting market indecision.
  • Middle East tensions counterbalanced by stronger U.S. dollar.
  • CPI data crucial for future Federal Reserve interest rate decisions.

Market Positioning

Gold (XAU/USD) is currently trading around the critical 50-day moving average of $2033.88, indicating a period of market uncertainty. This level is seen as a pivotal point for the intermediate-term trend in gold prices.

At 08:24 GMT, XAU/USD is trading $2032.17, down $2.04 or -0.10%.

Market sentiment is divided between bullish and bearish traders. Bullish traders are eyeing potential safe-haven demand due to escalating tensions in the Middle East and fears of a global banking crisis sparked by bad commercial loans. In contrast, bearish sentiment is influenced by expectations of higher and prolonged interest rates from the Federal Reserve.

Influences and Events

  • Geopolitical Tensions:  The Middle East remains a focal point of concern, with recent Israeli military actions in Rafah escalating regional tensions.
  • U.S. Dollar and Treasury Yields: The dollar index and 10-year Treasury yields are both trending upwards, with the yield recently rising to 4.15% following robust U.S. initial claims data on Thursday. This strengthens the U.S. dollar, typically a negative factor for gold prices.
  • Federal Reserve Policy:  Fed officials have indicated a cautious approach towards interest rate cuts, dampening hopes for immediate reductions. Recent comments suggest fewer rate cuts in 2024, with a focus on incoming economic data, particularly the U.S. consumer price index.
  • Chinese Market Closure: The Shanghai Futures Exchange is closed for the Lunar New Year until February 16, potentially impacting demand for gold.

Economic Indicators

  • U.S. Jobs Data: Strong jobs data, with unemployment insurance claims dropping to 218,000, suggests a robust labor market. This supports the Fed’s stance on maintaining current interest rates.
  • CPI Data and Rate-Cut Odds: The upcoming consumer price index report is crucial. Markets have pared down bets for a May interest rate cut, with current odds standing at just 16.5%. Seasonal adjustments to the CPI data could significantly influence Fed rate-cut expectations.

Short-term Market Forecast

Given the confluence of these factors, the short-term outlook for gold is likely to remain volatile. The market’s reaction to the 50-day moving average and upcoming economic reports, particularly the U.S. CPI data, will be crucial.

Currently, the strengthening U.S. dollar and rising Treasury yields, coupled with cautious Fed policy, suggest a bearish outlook for gold prices in the short term. However, geopolitical tensions and any negative surprises in economic data could quickly shift sentiment, underscoring the market’s current state of flux.

Technical Analysis

Daily Gold (XAU/USD)

Trader reaction to the 50-day moving average at $2033.87 is likely to set the tone in the gold market on Friday.

A sustained move over $2033.87 will indicate the presence of buyers. If this is able to generate enough upside momentum then look for the selling to possibly extend into the nearest resistance at $2067.00.

A break under $2033.87 will signal the presence of sellers. This could trigger a near-term break into the closest support at $2009.00. Not only is this level support, but it’s also a potential trigger point for an acceleration into the 200-day moving average at $1966.00.

About the Author

James is a Florida-based technical analyst, market researcher, educator and trader with 35+ years of experience. He is an expert in the area of patterns, price and time analysis as it applies to futures, Forex, and stocks.

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