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(Kitco News) – Stronger-than-expected U.S. consumer sentiment is adding further selling pressure to gold and is solidifying expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates by 25 basis points next month.
Friday, the University of Michigan said the preliminary reading of its Consumer Sentiment Index rose to 63.5, down up from 62.0 in March. The data beat expectations as consensus forecasts called for a roughly unchanged reading in consumer sentiment.
“Sentiment is now about 3% below a year ago but 27% above the all-time low from last June,” the report said.
The gold market has seen sold selling pressure ahead of the weekend as investors take profits after prices hit a 13-month high Thursday. The better-than-expected data is adding to gold’s correction. June gold futures last traded at $2,030.90 an ounce, down more than 1% on the day.
According to analysts, gold is seeing some selling pressure as consumer inflation expectations support calls for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates again next month. According to the survey, consumers see inflation rising 4.6% by this time next year, up from 3.6% reported in March.
“While consumers have noted the easing of inflation among durable goods and cars, they still expect high inflation to persist, at least in the short run,” the report said. “These expectations have been seesawing for four consecutive months, alternating between increases and decreases. Uncertainty over short-run inflation expectations continues to be notably elevated, indicating that the recent volatility in expected year-ahead inflation is likely to continue.”
Long term, consumers see inflation relatively stable at 2.9%, unchanged for the fifth consecutive month. Five-year inflation expectations have moved in a range between 2.9% and 3.1% for 20 of the last 21 months, the report said.
Markets now see a more than 85% chance that the Federal Reserve will continue to tighten interest rates. Forecasts for the Federal Reserve’s rate cut are also being pushed back until after the summer.
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