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Gold Prices Battling Against USD As Euro Economy Faces Downside Risk

Kitco News

(Kitco News) - The gold market is holding its ground despite surging momentum in the U.S. dollar following modestly dovish comments Wednesday from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi.

Economists have described Draghi’s latest press conference as a “maintenance meeting,” as he signaled that the central bank is in a holding pattern and gathering more information before making its next monetary policy move.

However, Draghi did acknowledge that risks to the euro-zone economy remain on the downside, which has weakened the euro against the U.S. dollar.

“The persistence of uncertainties, related to geopolitical factors, the threat of protectionism and vulnerabilities in emerging markets, is leaving marks on economic sentiment,” Draghi said in his opening remarks. “The risks surrounding the euro-area growth outlook remain tilted to the downside, on account of the persistence of uncertainties related to geopolitical factors, the threat of protectionism and vulnerabilities in emerging markets.”

Draghi’s comments come after the ECB held rates steady and did not tinker any further with monetary policy after adding fresh stimulus measures last month.

A stronger U.S. dollar against the euro is pushing the U.S. dollar index higher, but gold has also pushed into positive territory. June gold futures last traded at $1,309.30 an ounce, up 0.08% on the day.

George Gero, managing director with RBC Wealth Management, said that he is not surprised that gold prices are higher as growing threats to the global economy create a positive environment for the yellow metal.

“Gold is not just a hedge against inflation but it’s a hedge against economic dislocation,” he said. “Gold is reacting to the growing uncertainty as [President Donald] Trump opens up a second front in the trade war.”

On Tuesday, the U.S. government threatened to impose tariffs worth about $11 billion on a variety of imported European goods.

“There is a lot of uncertainty because of these tariff tiffs and because of that gold has less to fear from the U.S. dollar,” Gero said.

However, not all analysts see a path for higher gold prices in the near term.

Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at SIA Wealth Management, said while gold prices are flat on the day, he expects the market to remain range bound because of weak inflation pressures.

“Weaker economic growth means low inflation and that is not good for gold prices. I don’t think we will see a sharp drop in prices but I don’t see anything that will really push prices higher anytime soon,” he said.

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