Gold futures traded marginally lower early Wednesday, in a holding pattern ahead of a decision by the Federal Reserve that’s expected to deliver a half percentage point benchmark interest rate hike.
“While today’s Fed hike of 50 basis points is fully priced in, it would take a decision outside of this expectation to significantly move markets later today,” said Rupert Rowling, market analyst at Kinesis Money, in a note. “For now, gold is left scrabbling for the next support to stave off further drops rather than any hope of it regaining the $1,900 threshold in the short-term.”
The Fed is expected to raise the fed-funds rate by 50 basis points, or a half percentage point, while outlining its plan to begin shrinking its nearly $9 trillion balance sheet. The Fed typically moves its benchmark interest rates in quarter-point increments, with its last half-point hike coming in 2000.
The Fed will announce its policy decision at 2 p.m. Eastern, after the regular close for gold. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will hold a news conference at 2:30 p.m.
The outsize move, and investor expectations for more of them in the future, comes as the Fed attempts to rein in inflation running at its hottest since the early 1980s.
The hawkish backdrop has seen gold fall out of favor, Rowling said, after the yellow metal saw a rush of haven-related buying following Russia’s late-February invasion of Ukraine. By now, “investors have priced in the financial risks posed by the conflict and have reduced some of the fear-based trading as a result,” he said.
In other metals trade, July copper
rose 0.7% to $4.315 a pound. July platinum
was up 1.4% at $971.60 an ounce, while June palladium
gaiend 1.1% to trade at $2,264 an ounce.