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Gold prices see new safe-haven demand as ISM manufacturing index falls to 50.9

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(Kitco News) - The gold market is seeing renewed momentum as weak manufacturing activity in the U.S. drives safe-haven demand for the precious metal.

The latest data from the Institute for Supply Management shows manufacturing activity barely holding in expansion territory in September. The ISM manufacturing PMI fell to 50.9 % last month, missing expectations and down from August’s reading of 52.8%. Economists were expecting to see relatively stable activity at 52.5%.

The report noted that activity is at its lowest point since May 2020 when the global economy was roiled as nations implemented strict lockdown measure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The U.S. manufacturing sector continues to expand, but at the lowest rate since the pandemic recovery began. Following four straight months of panelists’ companies reporting softening new orders rates, the September index reading reflects companies adjusting to potential future lower demand,” said Timothy Fiore, chair of the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.

The gold market was holding relatively steady ahead of the report and has seen some new buying momentum in initial reaction to the disappointing data. December gold futures last traded at $1,682.60 an ounce, up 0.63% on the day.

The report highlighted growing weakness in important components of the economy. New orders dropped to 47.1%, down from August’s reading of 51.3%. At the same time the Production Index rose to 50.6%, up from 50.4%.

The report also noted weakness in the labor market with the Employment Index falling to 48.7%, down from August’s level at 54.2%.

Katherine Judge, senior economist at CIBC, said the data is consistent with a slowdown in demand for goods.

The report also noted that inflation pressures continue to ease. The Price Index fell to 51.7%, down from August’s reading of 52.5%.

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