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Gold finally hits $2,000 after one-year hiatus; Some pullback seen before record

Published 03/21/2023, 04:48 AM
© Reuters.

By Barani Krishnan

Investing.com -- Gold prices finally reached the nirvana aspired by longs in the game — $2,000 an ounce — but attaining longevity and a new record high here might require further patience.

The front-month April gold futures contract on New York’s Comex settled at $1,982.80 an ounce, up $9.30, or 0.5%. The session high was $2,014.90, a peak not seen since the 2,015.10 registered on March 10, 2022.

The spot price of gold, more closely followed than futures by some traders, was at $1,978.76 by 16:20 ET (20:20 GMT), down $10.58, or 0.5%. The session high for spot gold was $2,009.84, also marking a one-year high.

Gold prices have been on a tear since the U.S. banking crisis erupted just over a week ago with the takeover of two mid-sized lenders — Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank — by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp as depositors yanked billions of dollars from them after fearing about their solvency. Silicon Valley later filed for bankruptcy protection. A third bank, First Republic Bank (NYSE:FRC), also waded into trouble despite receiving a $30 billion cash infusion from a consortium of U.S. banks.

Elsewhere, the banking crisis has spread to Europe, with Credit Suisse Group (NYSE:CS), one of the preeminent names in global investment banking, having to seek help from Switzerland’s central bank.

Some of the rush by investors towards safe-havens cooled on Monday after Swiss investment bank UBS (NYSE:UBS) said it will buy beleaguered peer Credit Suisse and JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) appeared to make progress in the rescue of First Republic.

For Comex futures to reach a new record high beyond $2,078.80 and spot gold to rewrite its all-time peak of $2,072.90, the yellow metal might have to retrace some of the huge gains from the past few sessions to make another strong push forward, said Sunil Kumar Dixit, chief technical strategist at SKCharting.com.

“Gold maintains its bullish momentum despite a $45 drop from an intraday high of $2010 as prices show a calculated resilience from $1,965 lows,” said Dixit.

“The pullback we’ve had from the peaks is very healthy and gold longs may need a little more patience for a new record, though not too much. The possibility of a further drop to $1,960-$1,950 remains intact, but buyers are very likely to resurface taking the metal higher for a retest of $2,010, above which gold’s first target of $2,040 is stationed.”

The Federal Reserve’s rate decision on March 22 will also matter.

The Fed is expected to approve another 25-basis point hike at its March 22 meeting, bringing U.S. interest rates to a peak of 5%, and advocate further increases that will help it catch up with inflation which grew at an annual rate of 6% in February. The Fed intends to bring inflation back to its long-term target of 2% per annum and has said it will rely as much as possible on rate hikes to do that, having already raised 450 basis points over the last year.

The banking crisis is, however, weighing on the Fed’s plans as many on Wall Street are blaming that on the central bank’s rate increases instead of what appears to be reckless risk-taking by the executives of the banks that went under. There is pressure now on the Fed not to do any more rate increases. The central bank’s chair Jerome Powell has not signaled yet that he will not capitulate to such demands.

“The next test of [gold’s] bullishness may come Wednesday and perhaps not from the rate decision itself but what Powell and his colleague have to say on the path forward,” said Craig Erlam, analyst at online trading platform OANDA.

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