Commodities News

Gold Up, Close to Eight-month High, Over Fed Minutes

By Gina Lee – Gold was up on Thursday morning in Asia, with the yellow metal close to an eight-month high touched earlier in the week. However, moves were small.

Gold futures inched up 0.09% to $1,83.15 by 10:54 PM ET (3:54 AM GMT). The dollar, which normally moves inversely to gold, inched up on Thursday morning.

Investors digested the minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s last meeting, released on Wednesday. The minutes showed that the central bank will hike its interest rates imminently and continue to monitor inflation levels. The minutes also showed that the officials had not decided on a particular pace of interest rate hikes.

The U.S. Commerce Department also released data on Wednesday that showed core retail sales grew 3.3% month-on-month, and retail sales grew 3.8% month-on-month, in January. This was the highest growth in 10 months, driven by rising purchases of motor vehicles and other goods.

Data was also front and center in Asia Pacific on Thursday. Japanese trade data showed that exports grew 9.6% year-on-year, while imports grew 39.6% year-on-year, in January. The adjusted trade balance was at -JPY930 billion ($8.05 billion), while the trade balance was at -JPY2.19 trillion.

In Australia, employment data released earlier in the day showed that the employment change was 12,900 and the full employment change was -17,000, in January. The unemployment rate was 4.2%.

Investors are also monitoring U.S.-Russia tensions over Ukraine. The U.S. cast doubt on Russia’s claims that it had withdrawn troops from the Ukraine border and stated that Russia added as many as 7,000 troops instead. However, Russia continues to deny any plans to attack Ukraine, calling the U.S. claims “hysteria”.

In other precious metals, silver was flat at $23.54 per ounce, while palladium edged up 0.2% and platinum fell 0.5%.

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