PRECIOUS-Gold starts 2024 upbeat as US Fed seen cutting rates

By Hissay Ongmu Bhutia

Jan 2 (Reuters)Gold prices gained on Tuesday, boosted by expectations of an easing of monetary policy by the U.S. Federal Reserve in 2024 as investors look forward to a slew of economic data this week that could shed more light on the timing of rate cuts.

Spot gold XAU= gained 13% in 2023, its first annual rise since 2020. On Tuesday it was up 0.6% at $2,074.40 per ounce as of 1025 GMT. U.S. gold futures GCcv1 also rose 0.6%, to $2,084.00 per ounce.

“The markets are starting the year holding on to the belief that the Fed will cut rates sooner rather than later, that is the reason why gold prices are higher,” said Ricardo Evangelista, senior analyst at ActivTrades.

“If inflation continues to slow down and economic activity also slows down, then that scenario would be very favourable for gold and we could see strong gains in 2024 with Treasury yields dropping further and the dollar also softening.” USD/US/

Markets are now pricing in an 86% chance of a rate cut from the Fed in March, according to CME FedWatch tool. Lower interest rates decrease the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding gold.

Market focus this week is on the minutes from the last Fed meeting, due out on Thursday. Data on U.S. job openings and December non-farm payrolls due on Friday will also be keenly watched.

“There was a change of tone in the December FOMC meeting, so traders will be scrutinising for much more clarity on this dovish tilt, especially on what the Fed officials are looking out for,” said Kelvin Wong, a senior market analyst for Asia Pacific at OANDA.

On the technical front, spot gold may retest support of $2,062 per ounce, a break below which could open the way towards $2,053, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao. TECH/C

Elsewhere, spot silver XAG= rose 1.1% to $24.0119 per ounce and palladium XPD= edged up 0.3% to $990.38. Platinum XPT= gained 0.5% to $1,104.38 per ounce.

(Reporting by Hissay Ongmu Bhutia in Bengaluru; Editing by Susan Fenton)

((HissayOngmu.Bhutia@thomsonreuters.com;))

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