Gold Prices Hold Steady after Mixed U.S. Economic Reports

14/03/2018 12:48:59 Commodities

Gold prices held steady near one-week highs on Wednesday, after the release of mixed U.S. economic reports and as investors remained cautious after the sudden firing of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Comex gold futures were little changed at $1,323.3 a troy ounce by 08:45 a.m. ET (12:45 GMT).

The U.S. Commerce Department reported on Wednesday that retail sales fell 0.1% in February, compared to expectations for a 0.3% rise.

A separate report showed that U.S. producer prices rose 0.2% in February, beating forecasts for an uptick of 0.1%.

Markets were still jittery after U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday fired Secretary of State Tillerson, considered more moderate in his administration. Tillerson will be replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

Investors also remained cautious after Trump announced plans to impose tariffs on up to $60 billion of Chinese imports, specifically targeting the technology and telecommunications sectors.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was steady at 89.72, the lowest since March 8.

Gold is sensitive to moves in both U.S. rates and the dollar. A weaker dollar makes gold less expensive for holders of foreign currency, while a rise in U.S. rates lifts the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion.

Elsewhere on the Comex, silver futures slid 0.31% to $16.57 a troy ounce.