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Gold near key support as market mulls Fed hiking into recession Gold near key support as market mulls Fed hiking into recession Gold near key support as market mulls Fed hiking into recession

Gold near key support as market mulls Fed hiking into recession

Ole Hansen

Head of Commodity Strategy

Summary:  Gold and especially silver slumped on Tuesday after Fed Chair Powell said the Fed was prepared to increase the pace of rate hikes and to a higher-than-expected level should incoming data continued to show strength. Gold has despite the stronger dollar and rising rates risk managed to find support ahead of key support in the $1800 area, driven by the risk of either economic data turning softer or higher rates forcing a policy mistake leading to peak rates and recession, all events that may end up being supportive for gold and precious metals in general


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Gold and especially silver slumped on Tuesday after Fed Chair Powell, in his prepared remarks to Congress, said the Fed was prepared to increase the pace of rate hikes and to a higher-than-expected level should incoming data continued to show strength. Terminal Fed rate expectations shifted higher to 5.66% with the market now pricing in a 60% risk of a 50 bp move at the March 22 meeting. 

Across market risk appetite tumbled, not least due to the dollar hitting a fresh high for the year,  with the selloff in metals being led by silver’s 4.6% slump to a four-month low near $20. Gold meanwhile has given back most of last week's bounce and following the failure to challenge resistance at $1864 and stay above the 21-day moving average, a development that otherwise would have signalled a return of positive momentum, the market is once again looking for support in the $1800 area ahead of $1775, the 200-day moving average.

Source: Saxo

During the Q&A session that followed his prepared statement, a tasty exchange between Powell and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) highlighted the risk the FOMC, not fully understanding their limitations in bringing inflation under control, will continue to hike rates until something brakes. The senator asked Powell what he would say to two million people losing their jobs if he keeps raising rates. To this he answered: “Will working people be better off if we just walk away from our jobs and inflation remains 5%-6%?”.

His comment further supported the view that the FOMC will hike faster, higher and for longer, with the obvious risk to the economic outlook and with that the eventual need to cut rates. We will continue to watch the dollar closely given its strong inverted correlation with gold, and now also increasingly how the market price the risk of a recession and with that the scale of the eventual drop in rates. We follow this through the size of the 2-10 year inversion of the US yield curve, currently at 107 basis points, and highest since 1981, and the one year spread between the September 2023 and September 2024 Fed funds futures. From a the current peak priced in around September the spread is looking for a +100 basis point drop the following twelve months. This is important given gold’s often powerful performance in the months that followed a Fed pause in rates.


In the short-term with Powell signalling an incredible data dependency, the focus now turns to incoming US data with the first being Friday’s job report. Given the level of elevated rate hike expectation currently priced in, any weakness in incoming data may now trigger a stronger positive response than otherwise called for. 

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