Gold prices steady with PCE test in focus, copper slips on weak China PMIs

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Investing.com– Gold prices steadied in Asian trade on Friday, with traders remaining wary of the yellow metal before key U.S. inflation data that is likely to factor into the outlook for interest rates.

Among industrial metals, copper prices slipped tracking weaker-than-expected purchasing managers index data from top importer China. 

Metal markets saw some relief on Friday after the slid from over two-week highs in overnight trade, tracking weak figures. But this relief was limited, as fears of sticky inflation and high interest rates persisted before key inflation data.

steadied at $2,342.86 an ounce, while expiring in August fell 0.1% to $2,363.80 an ounce by 00:19 ET (04:19 GMT). The yellow metal was still set to gain about 2.6% in May, after it shot up to record highs earlier in the month. 

Gold trims May gains, PCE test looms 

But gold was now trading about $100 below its May record highs, as fears of high-for-longer U.S. interest rates sparked some profit-taking in the yellow metal.

A string of Federal Reserve officials warned in recent weeks that the central bank had little confidence to begin trimming interest rates, amid sticky inflation. 

This put data- which is the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge- squarely in focus. The reading is due later on Friday and is expected to show inflation cooled slightly in April but remained well above the Fed’s 2% annual target range.

High-for-longer interest rates bode poorly for gold and other precious metals, given that they push up the opportunity cost of investing in the space.

Platinum, silver set for bumper gains in May

Other precious metals sank on Friday, also seeing a measure of profit-taking after strong gains through May. fell 0.6% to $1,028.95 an ounce, while slid 1.6% to $31.030 an ounce. But the two metals were up 9% and 17%, respectively, in May, as they benefited from exposure to a speculative frenzy that drove up the prices of industrial metals.

Both platinum and silver have some industrial applications. 

Copper prices sink on weak China PMIs

Benchmark on the London Metal Exchange steadied at $10,141.0 a tonne, while one-month fell 0.5% to $4.6350 a pound. 

Both contracts wiped out a bulk of their gains through May despite hitting record highs, as a speculative frenzy died down and gave way to severe profit-taking. 

Sentiment towards copper was also dented by weaker-than-expected PMI data from top copper importer China. China’s unexpectedly contracted in May, while grew at a slower pace.