Gold fell to the lowest in over a week as the dollar advanced amid concern China may reverse its lighter-touch approach to the coronavirus. Copper also fell.
Worsening Covid-19 outbreaks across China and the first deaths in Beijing for six months are stoking concerns that authorities may again resort to harsh restrictions. That would be bearish for the copper market, where a squeeze in global supplies just appears to be easing. US equities declined, while the dollar rose on haven buying, pressuring gold and copper as they’re priced in the greenback.
Commodities have been pressured in recent months by the Federal Reserve’s aggressive monetary tightening to fight inflation, with a gauge of the raw materials recording two consecutive quarterly losses by the end of the third quarter.
Traders are now waiting for fresh clues about the Fed’s interest-rate hiking path from the central bank’s minutes due on Wednesday.
San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly said that officials will need to be mindful of the lags with which monetary policy work, while repeating that she sees interest rates rising to at least 5%. Her counterpart at the Cleveland Fed, Loretta Mester, said she has no problem with slowing down the central bank’s rapid rate increases when officials meet next month.
Spot gold slipped 0.7% to $1,739.10 an ounce as of 4:06 p.m. in New York. Copper for three-month delivery on the London Metal Exchange fell 2.4% to settle at $7,880.50 a metric ton. All other main LME metals declined. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index gained 0.7%. Silver and palladium spot prices dropped, while platinum gained.
The big question circling about China is how willing they are to tolerate deaths from COVID. The government has successfully instilled a deep sense of caution in the population about the threat represented by COVID and easing up on quarantine rules may not result in a large increase in mobility. As cases and deaths rise, the potential for a significantly slower return to economic activity is a base case scenario.
The Dollar Index rebounded from the region of the 200-day MA today. The first area of potential resistance is 110 which is the lower side of the overhead trading range.
Gold’s rebound is pausing in the region of the 200-day MA as it unwinds the short-term overbought condition.
Copper’s continued weakness is the surest sign that Chinese economic activity is not in the best of shape.