After two days of meetings regarding monetary policy, the US Federal Reserve officially announced the second interest rate hike of the year on Wednesday, June 13.
The Fed lifted the target federal funds rate by 25 basis points, from 1.75 to 2 percent, but the increase had little impact on gold, which remained just below the psychological barrier of US$1,300 per ounce
The US Federal Reserve raised interest rates on Wednesday, and signalled two additional hikes by the end of this year, compared to one previously. Expectations of further US interest rate increases lowers demand for the non-interest-paying asset. Gold as expected to drop post a rate hike, but nothing like that happened.
Gold prices were higher on Thursday, rising above the $1,300 level as the dollar lost the momentum from a decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve to raise interest rates.
Gold prices jumped to $1,303.2 from below the $1,300 level overnight after the Fed’s rate hike decision hit the markets. The prices have held on well above the $1,300 level since then.
Gold prices are denominated in U.S. dollars, so the movement of the U.S. dollar index impacts the gold price. On Thursday, the U.S. dollar index that measures the greenback’s strength against a basket of six major currencies was down 0.03% to 93.53, giving up gains despite a promising outlook for the U.S. economy.
This no reaction movement in gold prices was because a lot of safe-haven demand is expected to take place. The trade war drama is not going to end anytime soon, it is probably going to be exasperated over the next month or so as the geopolitical uncertainties have not been resolved yet.
Rounding out the Fed’s meeting comes the knowledge that the central bank expects US GDP to grow by 2.8 percent in 2018, with economic activity projected to expand by 2.4 percent in 2019. Overall, the economy is expected to grow 2 percent in 2020. The median average of the central bank’s updated forecasts rose from March’s projection to 2.8 percent.
In addition to Wednesday’s interest rate hike, the markets are also reacting to the Fed’s guidance regarding future interest rates. Reports that US President Donald Trump will meet with his top trade advisers on Thursday to decide whether to activate threatened tariffs limited gold’s losses.
Reports that President Trump was preparing to put tariffs on billions of dollars of Chinese goods as soon as Friday raised concerns in the market that economic growth would be impacted. This saw some safe-haven buying emerge and saw gold prices not dropping considerably in spite of a rate hike.