Gold cuts gains after mixed U.S. economic data

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NEW YORK/LONDON: Gold cut its gains on Tuesday after mixed U.S. economic data failed to give clarity on the prospects for a U.S. interest rate rise this year and the U.S. dollar pared losses from a seven-week low.

U.S. consumer prices were unchanged in July as the cost of gasoline fell for the first time in five months and underlying inflation moderated, while U.S. housing starts unexpectedly climbed and industrial production rose more than forecast in the same month.

Spot gold (XAU=) was up 0.7 percent at $1,347.95 an ounce by 3:07 p.m. EDT (1907 GMT), retreating from an earlier 1.3-percent gain.

U.S. gold (GCcv1) settled up 0.7 percent at $1,356.90.

“The CPI initially drove the gold price higher but then NY Federal Reserve President (William) Dudley hinted that interest rate hikes could come as early as this September,” said Miguel Perez-Santalla, vice president of Heraeus Metal Management in New York.

Federal funds futures fell in the wake of comments from New York’s Dudley, who said the U.S. central bank could possibly raise interest rates in September if the economy improves further.

This suggested that traders saw a 55 percent chance for the Fed to raise rates in December, up from 42 percent on Monday.

Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart later said the U.S. economy is likely strong enough for at least one interest rate increase before the end of 2016, and possibly two.

The dollar (.DXY) was down 0.9 percent against a basket of currencies, after falling to the lowest since June 24, when the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union.

High on the U.S. calendar were also the minutes of the Fed’s July meeting, due for release on Wednesday at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT).

“The Fed should reiterate their data dependency, that in the uncertainty they would want to see inflation and wage targets … given that the data has been lukewarm, apart from the July jobs data, December now seems the only opportunity for this year,” Societe Generale analyst Robin Bhar said.

“If the market believes that, then gold is going to stay underpinned for the whole period,” he said.

Silver (XAG=) was up 0.2 percent at $19.84 an ounce.

Platinum (XPT=), which hit a near three-week low of $1,105.50 earlier in the session, rebounded 0.7 percent at $1,114.99.

Palladium (XPD=) was up 1.4 percent at $703.50. It hit a three-week low of $679.72 on Monday.