Gold declines on higher interest-rate expectations

Gold declines on higher interest-rate expectations
  • Gold price recoups earlier losses after US GDP data for Q1 is revised lower.
  • The precious metal was weakening on a higher interest-rate outlook, increasing the opportunity cost of holding Gold. 
  • Gold breaks out of its Bear Flag pattern and starts declining towards its bearish targets. 

Gold (XAU/USD) recovers and trades in the $2,340s on Thursday after the US Dollar (USD), to which it is negatively correlated, weakens following the release of the second estimate of US GDP data, which was revised down due to slower consumer spending. 

Annualized US GDP growth in Q1 was revised down to 1.3% from a first estimate of 1.6%, according to data from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, released on Thursday. The reading was below the 3.4% in Q4 but in line with analysts’ expectations. The data led to a fall in US Treasury yields which are negatively correlated to Gold.  

The GDP data suggests the US economy is not as strong as analysts had previously thought, and could indicate declining inflation, which in turn might lead the Federal Reserve (Fed) to lower interest rates – a positive for Gold since lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding the precious metal. 

Gold remains pressured on interest-rate outlook, European inflation 

Gold remains vulnerable, however, due to commentary from Federal Reserve (Fed) officials suggesting that US interest rates are set to remain high, and higher-than-expected inflation readings in Europe. 

Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari surprised markets on Tuesday when he said Fed officials had not disregarded hiking interest rates. He then added that if the Fed did cut borrowing costs, it would be twice toward the end of 2024.

Meanwhile, German and Spanish inflation data showed higher-than-expected readings in Europe, which reduces the probability that the European Central Bank (ECB) will follow their widely publicized June interest rate cut with a string of further cuts.

The preliminary Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) in Germany rose by 2.8% year-over-year in May, beating economists’ expectations of 2.7% and the previous 2.4% reading, data from Eurostat showed on Wednesday.  

According to data released on Thursday, the preliminary HICP in Spain rose by 3.8% in May, beating the 3.7% forecast and well above the 3.4% of the previous month. 

The German and Spanish data suggest that Eurozone-wide HICP will also show an above-consensus reading when released on Friday. This could prompt the ECB to put the breaks on lowering interest rates in order to manage persistent inflationary pressures. 

Technical Analysis: Gold breaks out of Bear Flag 

Gold price has broken out of a rectangular formation (red-shaded area in the chart below), which is probably a Bear Flag continuation price pattern formed between May 24 and 27. 

Bear Flags look like upside-down flags composed of a sharp decline – the flagpole – and the consolidation phase or flag square. 

XAU/USD 4-hour Chart

The breakout from the Bear Flag continuation pattern suggests a substantial downside to a target zone between $2,303 and $2,295. A break below Thursday’s $2,322 lows would provide bearish confirmation. 

Last week’s decisive break below the major trend line provides the first target at $2,303 (the Fibonacci 0.618 extrapolation of the down move prior to the break). The second target is the 0.618 Fibonacci extension of the flagpole (move down between May 21 and 24).

A more bearish move could see Gold fall to $2,272 (the 100% extrapolation of the move prior to the trend-line break). 

Gold’s 4-hour chart, used to assess the short-term trend, exhibits a sequence of declining peaks and troughs. It is likely to be in a short-term downtrend now, favoring short positions over longs. 

The precious metal’s medium and long-term trends are still bullish, however, suggesting the risk of a recovery remains high, yet price action is not supporting a resumption hypothesis at the moment. 

A decisive break back above the trendline, now at around $2,385, would be required to provide evidence of a recovery and reversal of the short-term downtrend. 

A decisive break would be one accompanied by a long green bullish candle or three green candles in a row.  

Economic Indicator

Gross Domestic Product Annualized

The real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Annualized, released quarterly by the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, measures the value of the final goods and services produced in the United States in a given period of time. Changes in GDP are the most popular indicator of the nation’s overall economic health. The data is expressed at an annualized rate, which means that the rate has been adjusted to reflect the amount GDP would have changed over a year’s time, had it continued to grow at that specific rate. Generally speaking, a high reading is seen as bullish for the US Dollar (USD), while a low reading is seen as bearish.

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The US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) releases the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth on an annualized basis for each quarter. After publishing the first estimate, the BEA revises the data two more times, with the third release representing the final reading. Usually, the first estimate is the main market mover and a positive surprise is seen as a USD-positive development while a disappointing print is likely to weigh on the greenback. Market participants usually dismiss the second and third releases as they are generally not significant enough to meaningfully alter the growth picture.

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