Gold is having a quiet day, trading at $1061.83 per ounce in the North American session. In economic news, US Unemployment Claims rose to 287 thousand, higher than expected. There was more bad news as Chicago PMI plunged to 42.8 points in December, well off expectations, and much weaker the November reading of 48.7 points.
There hasn’t been much to cheer about when it comes to gold, as the base metal as plunged 10 percent over the course of 2015. Gold took a hit in the aftermath of the Federal Reserve’s rate hike, and briefly dropped below the $1050 level, marking its lowest level since February 2010. There has been some improvement since then, but with the US dollar remaining strong, the downward trend could resume as we head into 2016.
The US economy is ending 2015 on a positive note, and was given a critical vote of confidence by the Federal Reserve, which raised interest rates earlier in the month for the first time in almost 10 years. Despite the generally rosy picture, signs of weakness remain, such as the housing sector. On Wednesday, Pending Home Sales was unexpectedly soft, posting a decline of 0.9%, compared to an estimate of a 0.6% gain. Recent housing indicators have also fallen below expectations. Meanwhile, CB Consumer Confidence sparkled in the December report, as the key indicator jumped to 96.5 points, up sharply from 90.4 points a month earlier. This easily beat the estimate of 93.9 points. This excellent reading followed a solid UoM Consumer Sentiment, which improved to 92.6 points, above the forecast of 92.1 points and marking a 4-month high. Consumer confidence indicators are closely monitored by analysts, as stronger consumer confidence often translates into increased consumer spending, a key driver of economic growth. Strong consumer demand has been an important factor in the strength of the US economy, which led to the historic rate hike by the Federal Reserve earlier in December. The recent rate hike is expected to be the first in a series of incremental rate hikes over the course of 2016, and higher interest rates means that the US dollar will become even more attractive to investors, which could come at the expense of commodities such as gold.
Thursday (Dec. 31)
- 13:30 US Unemployment Claims. Estimate 274K. Actual 287K
- 14:45 US Chicago PMI. Estimate 50.4 points. Actual 42.9 points
- 15:30 US Natural Gas Storage. Estimate -54B. Actual -58B
*Key Events are in Bold
*All release times are GMT
XAU/USD for Thursday, December 31, 2015
XAU/USD December 31 at 16:40 GMT
XAU/USD 1061.83 H: 1063 L: 1057
- There is resistance at 1080.
- 1043 is providing support
- Current range: 1043 to 1080
Further levels in both directions:
- Below: 1043, 1024 and 980
- Above: 1080, 1098, 1134 and 1151
OANDA’s Open Positions Ratio
In the XAU/USD ratio, long positions continue to command a solid majority (73%), indicative of strong trader bias towards gold prices moving higher.
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