Gold headed for the biggest monthly advance since July, with inflation risks in focus ahead of key U.S. jobs data due later this week that will offer clues on the economic recovery.
Some Federal Reserve officials have said that recent price pressures are to be expected as the economy reopens amid pent-up demand, and should prove temporary as supply glitches abate. The PCE price index — which the Fed uses for its inflation target — rose 3.6% from a year earlier, the biggest jump since 2008.
The U.S. nonfarm payrolls report scheduled for release on Friday augurs a pivotal moment for investors to assess whether surprisingly tepid job gains seen last month were a momentary blip or the start of something more persistent.
Bullion has erased its 2021 losses, and is one of the best-performing metals in May, amid signs of rising inflation and a potentially uneven economic recovery due to the resurgence in coronavirus cases in some countries. Investor interest has also returned, with hedge funds and other large speculators boosting their net-long position in gold to the highest since early January, while holdings in bullion-backed exchange-traded funds have climbed in May following three straight months of declines.
“It’s been a great month for gold price performance for a number of reasons — a weaker U.S. dollar, slightly lower bond yields and a surprise CPI print in the U.S. started to spark inflation fears,” said John Feeney, business development manager at Sydney-based bullion dealer Guardian Gold Australia. “There is also growing concern over a new wave of Covid in Southeast Asia, which is adding to investors fears around a slower global recovery.”
Spot gold advanced 0.2% to $1,907 an ounce by 9:49 a.m. in Singapore, and is up 7.8% this month. Prices climbed to $1,912.76 last week, the highest since Jan. 8. Silver and platinum advanced, while palladium was steady. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index headed for a second straight monthly drop.