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Gold pushes higher as inflation eases, recession fears rise

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Gold prices rose in Asian trade on Thursday as softer-than-expected U.S. inflation data spurred bets on an early rate-hike pause by the Federal Reserve, while growing fears of a recession also supported safe haven buying.

The yellow metal pushed further above the $2,000 mark this week, and was now about $50 away from a 2020 record high. Softer-than-expected U.S. consumer inflation data was the trigger for gold’s latest rally, as markets began pricing in the possibility that the Fed will pause its rate hike cycle as soon as June.

The minutes of the Fed’s March meeting showed that policymakers were considering a pause in rate hikes. But they were also wary of a “mild recession” later this year, in the wake of a banking crisis and as rising interest rates chip away at economic growth.

Spot gold rose 0.1% to $2,017.86 an ounce, while gold futures rose 0.4% to $2,032.05 an ounce by 22:44 ET (02:44 GMT). Both instruments were set for a third straight day of gains.

The collapse of several U.S. banks in March triggered a month-long rally in gold, as traders rushed into traditional safe havens.

While fears of an imminent banking crisis have since subsided, the yellow metal has remained relatively well bid amid concerns that the U.S. economy could shrink this year. The Fed minutes served to bolster these concerns.

Signs of worsening economic conditions are likely to further benefit gold prices, as is weakness in the dollar and U.S. Treasury yields. The greenback sank after Wednesday’s inflation reading, and was trading close to a two-month low.

Other precious metals were somewhat mixed on Thursday after strong gains this week. Platinum futures were flat at $1,028.60 an ounce, while silver futures rose 0.8% to $25.675 an ounce.

Among industrial metals, copper prices were flat as the prospect of a recession largely outweighed positive cues from a weaker dollar and a potential pause in interest rate hikes.

Copper futures steadied around $4.070 a pound.

Focus is now on Chinese trade data, due later in the day, for more cues on the world’s largest copper importer. A rash of weaker-than-expected readings from China has spurred concerns over a staggered economic rebound in the country this year.

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