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Gold price drops below $1,850 as U.S. retail sales surprise on the upside in January

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(Kitco News) Gold traded at new daily lows after retail sales rebounded sharply, beating expectations in January.

U.S. retail sales advanced 3% last month following a drop of 1.1% in December, according to the latest data from the U.S. Commerce Department. Economists expected an increase of 1.8% in last month’s headline number.

Core sales, which strip out vehicle sales, also beat expectations, rising 2.3% last month versus the projected advance of 0.8%. The report’s control group, which strips out autos, gas, building materials, and food services, followed the same trend, climbing 1.7% versus the expected 0.8% increase.

Immediately after the data release, gold fell after already registering early-morning losses of around $20. April Comex gold futures fell last traded at $1,842.60, down 1.22% on the day.  

January's gains make up for December's weakness, said CIBC Capital Markets economist Katherine Judge.

"This data confirms that the quarter is off to a stronger start than previously thought and cements the need for higher interest rates for longer, as this leaves sales volumes in the control group 6% above their pre-pandemic trendline, reflecting a roughly 1.4% m/m increase in control group volumes," Judge said Wednesday.

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