Good morning, traders; welcome to our market week preview, where we take a look at the economic data, market news and headlines likely to have the biggest impact on the price of gold this week and beyond, as well as other key correlated assets.
Gold prices are falling behind the pace again to begin the week. The nebulous actor that is “consumer sentiment” is being blamed for another sharp surge in the US Dollar overnight that brought the Greenback’s index back to the heights of 108 where it’s all the more difficult for other assets to find air or breathing room; the specific worry being blamed is expectations that the Fed will stay hawkish a bit longer.
While it can’t be counted on, this focus on a tightening Fed could later present an opportunity for commodities like gold to rebound if Fed Chair Jerome Powell makes any effort to counter the market expectation in his speech on Friday. Foreign markets are also helping to drive the Dollar higher at the start of the week, this time in Europe. A sudden surge in energy prices in the EU has sent the Euro currency into a tailspin again and, as of this morning, EUR/USD has slipped back to parity.
The economic slate for this week is pretty sparse, and we can expect markets to remain thin as we head toward the end of the summer.
For now, let’s take a look at the rest of the calendar ahead.
US Economic Data to Watch
Friday, August 26 at 830am EDT // PCE Price Index (July)
[(core inflation) consensus est.: +4.7% YoY // prev.: +4.79%]
[(headline inflation) consensus est.: +6.4% YoY // prev.: +6.76%]
It’s often the case, when the monthly PCE data set finally comes around, that there is little-to-no uncertainty about what the numbers will look like because the key inputs — most importantly, the same month’s CPI data—have already been publicly released. This will be the case again this week. However, the lack of a real “unknown” doesn’t always preclude a market reaction to the Friday morning PCE print. And where the July PCE report falls on the summer calendar may be leading us towards at least some movement generated by investor reaction, because the better-than-expected July CPI data has so tangibly impacted the medium- to long-term estimations of the Fed’s policy path; and also because the July edition of “the Fed’s preferred” gauge of inflation” will release at the kickoff of the Federal Reserve’s annual Jackson Hole Symposium, which will have the financial world tuned-in to what Jerome Powell as to say (more on that below.) As far as gold might go, how the yellow metal moves (if at all) post PCE depends on what the market latches on to; it could be focused on the signs of “peaking” inflation (which would probably deflate gold prices somewhat,) or, as we saw post-CPI earlier this month, investors could focus on the chances of the Fed curtailing their aggressive path of rate hikes earlier than previously thought (which would probably be a tailwind for gold.) Of course, this being the last full week of August, there could also be no market reaction at all.
Friday, August 26 at 10 am EDT // Fed Chair Jerome Powell Speech
The topic for this year’s Jackson Hole gathering of global central bankers hosted by the Fed is “Reassessing Constraints on the Economy and Policy.” As always, the headline address from the Chairman of the Fed will be closely watched, not just for comments and clues around the FOMC’s 50,000-foot view of monetary policy planning, but for any embedded signals as to what the very next move from Jerome Powell & Co. (due in September) will be. Powell isn’t giving us a lot of hints to go on, given that the title of Friday’s address will be just “The Economic Outlook.” This makes it hard to reckon what the gold market’s response could be, but it’s probably safe to stick with the tried-and-true: suggestions that the Fed could ease up on the pace of interest rates hike (or even start planning for an eventual pause) should be a positive driver for gold; indications that the FOMC would attempt to squeeze through one more +0.75% hike next month would push the US Dollar higher, in favor of just about everything else, and weigh heavily on gold valuations.
And that’s how the week lays out ahead of us, traders. As always, I wish you all the very best of luck in your markets in the coming days, and I’ll look forward to seeing you all back here on Friday for our market-week wrap-up.