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Gold prices rise amid Fed pause bets, copper gains on China stimulus -- Gold prices rose on Friday and were headed for a positive week amid increasing bets that the Federal Reserve was close to ending its rate hike cycle, while copper prices rose as major importer China unveiled more stimulus measures. Bullion prices were set for a third straight positive week, and appeared to have found stability in the high $1,900s on the prospect of fewer U.S. interest rate hikes this year. Weakness in the dollar aided most commodities priced in the greenback, although the dollar did rebound from 15-month lows this week, spurring some profit taking in gold. Spot gold rose 0.1% to $1,971.08 an ounce, while gold futures rose 0.1% to $1,973.10 an ounce by 22:35 ET (02:35 GMT). Both instruments were set to add between 0.5% and 1% for the week. Copper surges as China rolls out more stimulus measures Among industrial metals, copper prices rose sharply on Friday after major importer China unveiled measures aimed at boosting consumption in the country, specifically for the automobile and consumer electronics sector. The move pushed up hopes that the world’s largest copper importer will roll out more supportive measures for the economy, after data released earlier this week showed that Chinese economic growth slowed substantially in the second quarter. Copper futures jumped 0.7% in Asian trade to $3.8555 a pound. Increased spending in the automobile and electronics sector also potentially heralds more copper demand in the country, given its widespread use in the two industries. But other drivers of copper demand - specifically China’s massive real estate sector - are still struggling. Fed meeting approaches, pause expectations grow Metal markets were now squarely focused on an upcoming Fed meeting next week, with the central bank widely expected to hike interest rates by 25 basis points. But markets are betting that next week’s hike will be the Fed’s final one for the year, with rates set to remain at 5.5% until the bank begins loosening policy in 2024. Any potential pause in the Fed’s rate hike cycle bodes well for metal prices, given that they were battered by higher opportunity costs as yields surged over the past year. Gold in particular saw a strong recovery over the past month as markets began pricing in a potential Fed pause in July. But the central bank has still offered no clear signals on when it plans to pause its rate hike cycle, with officials positing at least two more hikes this year.

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