Gold Futures Settle Flat

Gold futures settled flat on Monday after prices moved in a very tight band right through the day’s session, even as the dollar turned in a weak performance with investors assessing the outlook for interest rates.

The dollar index, which dropped to 104.16 recovered to 104.30, but was still down, trailing its previous close by more than 0.2%.

The dollar eased as investors awaited congressional testimony Tuesday and Wednesday from Fed chair Jerome Powell for fresh insights on whether cooling inflation would get the Fed to take it easier on its hikes to interest rates.

Gold futures for April settled at $1,854.60 an ounce, unchanged from the previous close. Gold futures moved between $1,853.00 and $1,864.30.

Silver futures for May ended down $0.103 at $21.135 an ounce, while Copper futures for May settled at $4.0885 per pound, gaining $0.0215.

In the wake of recent hawkish comments from Fed officials, markets now bet the U.S. benchmark rate will reach closer to 5.5% and stay higher for longer.

The Bank of Japan’s monetary policy decision is due on Friday, with economists expecting the central bank to maintain its policy rate of -0.1%.

In economic news, new orders for U.S. manufactured goods pulled back sharply in the month of January, according to a report released by the Commerce Department.

The Commerce Department said factory orders slumped by 1.6% in January after surging by a downwardly revised 1.7% in December. Economists had expected factory orders to tumble by 1.8 percent compared to the 1.8 percent jump originally reported for the previous month.

The steep drop by factory orders largely reflected a substantial pullback by durable goods orders, which plunged by 4.5% in January after soaring by 5.1% in December.

Meanwhile, the report said orders for non-durable goods shot up by 1.5% in January after slumping by 1.7% in December.

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