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Gold prices hit record highs ahead of CPI data, copper gains

Investing.com-- Gold prices hovered just below record highs in Asian trade on Wednesday, as safe haven demand for the yellow metal was boosted in anticipation of key U.S. inflation data and more cues on interest rates.

Among industrial metals, copper prices hit 15-month peaks amid growing hopes that demand will pick up tracking a recovery in global factory activity. Expectations of tighter copper supplies also remained in play.

Gold was boosted chiefly by increased safe haven demand, while reports of central bank buying, particularly in China, also spurred increased demand for the yellow metal. This helped gold rise despite persistent concerns over higher-for-longer U.S. interest rates.

Spot gold rose 0.3% to $2,359.28 an ounce, while gold futures expiring in June rose 0.6% to a record high of $2,377.45 an ounce by 01:34 ET (05:34 GMT). Spot prices hit a record high of $2,365.34 an ounce earlier in the session.

US CPI data awaited for more rate cues, gold gains limited 

Bigger gains in the yellow metal were held back chiefly by anticipation of key U.S. consumer price index data, which is due later on Wednesday. 

The data is expected to show that inflation remained sticky in March- a trend that gives the Federal Reserve less impetus to begin cutting interest rates.

The CPI reading also comes after a bumper nonfarm payrolls report, as well as a slew of warnings from Fed officials that sticky inflation will delay any potential rate cuts by the central bank. The minutes of the Fed’s March meeting are also due later on Wednesday.

While the prospect of higher-for-longer interest rates bodes poorly for gold, the yellow metal was supported increased central bank buying, especially in Asia and emerging markets. Gold demand was boosted by growing fears of a marked economic slowdown later this year. 

Data released earlier this week showed the People’s Bank of China bought gold for a 17th straight month, with its pace of purchases showing few signs of stopping. The PBOC in particular has been hedging heavily against an economic slowdown and further weakness in Chinese stock markets. 

Other precious metals also rose, but were a mixed bag. Platinum futures inched higher and were at an over three-month high of $992.90 an ounce, while silver futures jumped 1.3% to a near three-year high of $28.363 an ounce.

Copper sits at 15-mth peak, more China cues awaited 

Three-month copper futures on the London Metal Exchange rose 0.4% to $9,468.0 a ton, while one-month U.S. copper futures rose 0.2% to $4.3110 a pound.

Both contracts sat at 15-month highs, as markets bet on an improved outlook for copper demand amid growing conviction that a decline in global manufacturing had bottomed out. 

Chinese copper supply is also expected to tighten as several top refiners flagged production cuts in the coming months.

More economic cues from China- which is the world’s biggest copper importer- are also due later this week. Inflation and trade data are due on Thursday and Friday, respectively. 

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