PRECIOUS-Gold steady as geopolitical woes counter firmer dollar, yields

BY Reuters | TREASURY | 04/17/24 12:11 AM EDT

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Bullion hit all-time high of $2,431.29 per ounce on Friday

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10-year Treasury yields are close to a five-month high

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Market prices in 68% chance of rate cut in September - CME

(Recasts, adds analyst comment and updates prices, as of 0337 GMT)

By Sherin Elizabeth Varghese

April 17 (Reuters) - Gold prices were steady on Wednesday after rallying to record highs last week, as safe-haven demand fuelled by geopolitical risks in the Middle East partially offset pressure from higher U.S. dollar and Treasury yields.

Spot gold held its ground at $2,381.68 per ounce, as of 0337 GMT, after hitting an all-time high of $2,431.29 on Friday. U.S. gold futures fell 0.4% at $2,397.70.

The dollar held steady near a five-month peak, making the greenback-priced bullion less attractive for other currency holders. Benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yields were at 4.6591%, hovering near a five-month high hit in the previous session.

"Gold prices have been displaying resilience in the face of higher Treasury yields and a stronger U.S. dollar, while finding some support in safe-haven flows in light of brewing geopolitical risks, with market participants still on edge for Israel's response to Iran's attacks," said IG market strategist Yeap Jun Rong.

Any escalation in geopolitical tensions could potentially pave the way for prices to retest its all-time high levels, Jun Rong said.

Top U.S. central bank officials including Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell backed away from providing any guidance on when interest rates may be cut, saying instead that monetary policy needs to be restrictive for longer.

Data out of U.S. has stirred questions on the prospects of rate cuts this year, with several global brokerages having pushed back their expectations of the U.S. Federal Reserve starting to lower interest rates to September from June.

Market is pricing in a 68% chance of a rate cut in September, according to the CME FedWatch Tool.

Lower interest rates boost the appeal of holding non-yielding bullion.

Spot silver rose 0.3% to $28.16 per ounce, platinum fell 0.3% at $953.75 and palladium was up 0.4% at $1,017.58.

(Reporting by Sherin Elizabeth Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

In general the bond market is volatile, and fixed income securities carry interest rate risk. (As interest rates rise, bond prices usually fall, and vice versa. This effect is usually more pronounced for longer-term securities.) Fixed income securities also carry inflation risk and credit and default risks for both issuers and counterparties. Unlike individual bonds, most bond funds do not have a maturity date, so avoiding losses caused by price volatility by holding them until maturity is not possible.

Lower-quality debt securities generally offer higher yields, but also involve greater risk of default or price changes due to potential changes in the credit quality of the issuer. Any fixed income security sold or redeemed prior to maturity may be subject to loss.

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