Gold Slightly Lower as Fed Surprises With Upbeat Rate Statement

Gold has dipped in the Thursday session. In North American trade,  XAU/USD is down 0.40%, with spot gold trading at $1254.00 per ounce. On the release front, unemployment claims dipped to 237 thousand, marking a 3-week low. The Empire State Manufacturing Index rebounded with a strong gain of 19.8, crushing the estimate of 5.2 points. The Philly Fed Manufacturing Index dropped sharply to 27.6, but still beat the estimate of 25.5 points.

The markets had priced in a rate hike at almost 100%, and the Federal Reserve did not disappoint. After weeks of broad hints that a rate hike was coming, the Federal Reserve made a move at the June meeting, marking its second rate hike in 2017. The Fed increased rates by 25 basis points, to a target range of 1.00 percent to 1.25 percent. Fed policymakers sounded upbeat in the rate statement, which that was more hawkish than expected. The statement portrayed an optimistic picture, noting that the economy was growing and the labor market remained strong. Concerns over low inflation were brushed aside, as the statement noted that although inflation remains below the Fed’s target of 2.0%, it expected that target to be reached in the “medium term”. The Fed projected one more rate hike in 2017, and analysts were quick to circle December meeting as the most likely date. However, the markets don’t appear to share the Fed’s optimism as far as another rate hike this year. The odds for a September increase are at 18%, compared to 23% a week ago, according to the CME Group. As for a December increase, the odds  stand at just 38%.

Although the rate hike was practically a non-event, the Fed still managed to surprise the markets. Earlier in the year, the Fed mentioned its goal of reducing its $4.2 billion balance sheet (comprised of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities). Fed Chair Janet Yellen revisited this issue at her follow-up press conference on Wednesday. Yellen was short on specifics, saying that the goal was to begin the normalization “relatively soon”. The Fed balance sheet ballooned after the financial crisis in 2008, as the Fed implemented a massive quantitative easing program as part of its accommodative monetary policy, together with interest rates of zero. The gradual reduction in the purchase of these assets is significant for the markets, as signifies a vote of confidence in the strength of the US economy.


XAU/USD Fundamentals

Thursday (June 15)

  • 8:30 US Unemployment Claims. Estimate 241K. Actual 237K
  • 8:30 US Empire State Manufacturing Index. Estimate 5.2. Actual 19.8
  • 8:30 US Import Prices. Estimate +0.1%. Actual -0.3%
  • 8:30 US Philly Fed Manufacturing Index. Estimate 25.5. Actual 27.6
  • 9:15 US Capacity Utilization Rate. Estimate 76.8%. Actual 76.6%
  • 9:15 US Industrial Production. Estimate 0.2%. Actual 0.0%
  • 10:00 US NAHB Market Index. Estimate 70. Actual 67
  • 10:30 US Natural Gas Storage. Estimate 88B. Actual 78B
  • 16:00 US TIC Long-Term Purchases. Estimate 37.3B

Friday (June 16)

  • 8:30 US Building Permits. Estimate 1.25M
  • 8:30 US Housing Starts
  • 10:00 US Preliminary UoM Consumer Sentiment. Estimate 97.2

*All release times are EDT

*Key events are in bold


XAU/USD for Thursday, June 15, 2017

XAU/USD June 15 at 12:00 EST

Open: 1260.07 High: 1266.52 Low: 1251.39 Close: 1254.00


XAU/USD Technical

S3 S2 S1 R1 R2 R3
1170 1199 1232 1260 1285 1307
  • XAU/USD was flat in the Asian session. The pair posted losses in the European session and is showing little movement in North American trade
  • 1232 is providing support
  • 1260 is a weak resistance line
  • Current range: 1232 to 1260

Further levels in both directions:

  • Below: 1232, 1199 and 1170
  • Above: 1260, 1285, 1307 and 1337

OANDA’s Open Positions Ratio

XAU/USD ratio is showing movement towards short positions. Currently, long positions have a majority (54%), indicative of XAU/USD reversing directions and climbing to higher levels. 

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Kenny Fisher

Kenny Fisher

Market Analyst at OANDA
A highly experienced financial market analyst with a focus on fundamental and macroeconomic analysis, Kenny Fisher’s daily commentary covers a broad range of markets including forex, equities and commodities. His work has been published in major online financial publications including, Seeking Alpha and FXStreet. Kenny has been a MarketPulse contributor since 2012.