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Gold Struggles for Direction As Market Anticipates Easing, Physical Demand Weakens

July 22, 2019 at 14:11 by Andrew Moran

Gold futures are struggling for direction to kick off the trading week as the yellow metal has already taken full advantage of monetary easing by the central banks. Gold’s safe-haven appeal may need to be amplified on lackluster data, weakened physical demand in Asia, and heightened geopolitical pressure. Still, following an impressive 12% gain in the last three months, the precious metal is in a good spot.

August gold futures edged up $0.30, or 0.02%, to $1,427.00 per ounce at 13:33 GMT on Monday on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Last week, gold enjoyed a 1% gain, touching its best level in six years. Year-to-date, prices have risen on the year more than 11%.

Silver, the sister commodity to gold, is having a terrific beginning in the new trading week. September silver futures surged $0.165, or 1.02%, to $16.36 per ounce. The white metal recorded a 6% weekly increase last week, lifting 2019 gains to an admirable 5% jump.

The gold market is potentially having a slow start to the week because investors are looking for gold-positive signals. Since nearly everyone is expecting the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates by at least 25 basis points next week, the likelihood has already been penciled in the price. The same thing applies to the European Central Bank (ECB), which is also likely to introduce another round of quantitative easing to spur economic growth.

Experts contend that traders need to consider shallower rate cuts than previously expected.

Meanwhile, there has been a slide in bullion demand in Asia. This is primarily because India raised duty on gold imports from 10% to 12.5% as part of fiscal efforts to rein in the budget deficit and replenish financial institutions. India is the largest gold importer in the world, totaling nearly $33 billion a year. There has been backlash over the policy, leading industry experts to warn about smuggling to avoid paying the hefty tax.

But while consumer demand for physical gold is weakening, central banks are offsetting with tremendous additions to their reserves. From Hungary to China, the world’s central banks are buying the most amount of gold since 2013.

In other metal markets, August copper futures slipped $0.015, or 0.52%, to $2.74 per pound. September palladium futures tumbled $3.30, or 0.22%, to $1,505.00 an ounce. September platinum futures dipped $0.60, or 0.07%, to $851.50 per ounce.

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