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Gold prices steady amid Fed uncertainty, Europe recession fears

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— Gold prices moved little on Wednesday, retaining most recent gains as fears of a recession in the euro zone, following a string of weak economic readings, kept safe haven demand supported.

Any major gains in gold were largely stymied by persistent fears of higher U.S. interest rates, especially as data released on Tuesday showed that local business activity improved in October. The firmed in overnight trade, while Treasury yields steadied from recent losses. 

Safe haven demand for the yellow metal receded this week amid some signs of deescalation in the Israel-Hamas conflict, as Israel postponed a planned ground assault on Gaza. 

But this was somewhat offset by weak data from the euro zone, which raised concerns over a potential recession in the region. Germany, Europe’s largest economy, had entered a recession earlier this year. 

Gold remained within sight of the $2,000 an ounce level, although whether it would reach that level in the near-term remained in doubt, especially with several more U.S. economic cues due this week.

rose 0.1% to $1,972.51 an ounce, while expiring in December fell 0.2% to $1,983.15 an ounce by 01:10 ET (05:10 GMT).

US GDP data, more Fed cues on tap

Markets were now largely awaiting more economic cues from the U.S. this week, chiefly third-quarter (GDP) data due on Thursday. Any more signs of resilience in the U.S. economy gives the Fed more headroom to keep interest rates higher for longer, while also diminishing the safe haven appeal of gold. 

The GDP reading will be followed by data- the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge on Friday. U.S. inflation has increased in recent months, giving the Fed more impetus to remain hawkish.

The central bank is set to , although markets widely expect the Fed to stand pat. Still, Fed officials have signaled at least one more hike this year, and that rates will remain higher for longer, at least until end-2024. 

Higher rates diminish the appeal of investing in assets such as gold, given that the yellow metal offers no yields. 

Copper takes little support from China stimulus news 

Among industrial metals, copper prices fell slightly on Wednesday, taking little support from news that major importer China planned to ramp up infrastructure spending this year. 

fell 0.2% to $3.6247 a pound. 

The Chinese government said it will issue 1 trillion yuan ($1=7.3 yuan) in bonds this year to increase infrastructure spending, particularly on disaster repair and relief. The move is also expected to stimulate the Chinese economy. 

Still, copper was little changed after the announcement, as concerns over a euro zone recession also pointed to weaker industrial demand in the region over the coming months.

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