Gold prices rose to one-and-a-half month highs on Friday as sluggish inflation data tempered expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates again this year, underpinning demand for the precious metal.

Gold for August delivery closed up 0.74% at $1,269.34 on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. For the week, the precious metal was up 1.08%, its third consecutive weekly gain.

The dollar weakened broadly after data showing that wage growth and inflation remained tepid in the three months to June offset another report showing that U.S. economic growth accelerated in the second quarter.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, ended down 0.61% at 93.20, the lowest close since June 22, 2016.

The index has fallen around 2.3% so far this month and is down around 9% for the year to date.

A weaker dollar tends to boost prices for gold, which is denominated in the U.S. currency.

The subdued inflation outlook has raised doubts over whether the U.S. central bank will be able to stick to plans for a third interest rate hike this year.

The Fed left rates on hold on Wednesday and said it expected to start shrinking its balance sheet “relatively soon.”

The precious metal received an additional boost after North Korea fired a ballistic missile, spurring safe-haven buying.

In the week ahead, investors will be focusing on Friday’s U.S. jobs report for fresh indications on the possible direction of Federal Reserve policy through the end of the year.

Central bank meetings in the UK and Australia will also be in focus. Meanwhile, the euro zone is to release preliminary data on inflation and second quarter growth.

Ahead of the coming week, Investing.com has compiled a list of these and other significant events likely to affect the markets.

 

Monday, July 31

China is to release data on manufacturing and service sector activity.

New Zealand is to produce a report on business confidence.

The euro zone is to publish a preliminary estimate of inflation, while Germany is to report on retail sales.

The UK is to publish data on net lending.

The U.S. is to release data on pending homes sales and business activity in the Chicago area.

 

Tuesday, August 1

China is to publish its Caixin manufacturing PMI.

The Reserve Bank of Australia is to announce its benchmark interest rate and publish a rate statement which outlines economic conditions and the factors affecting the monetary policy decision.

The euro zone is to release preliminary data on second quarter economic growth.

The UK is to release data on manufacturing activity.

The U.S. is to release data on personal spending and the Institute for Supply Management is to publish its manufacturing index.

 

Wednesday, August 2

New Zealand is to release its quarterly jobs report.

Australia is to report on building approvals.

The UK is to release data on construction activity.

The U.S. is to release the ADP nonfarm payrolls report.

 

Thursday, August 3

Australia is to report on the trade balance.

The UK is to release data on service sector activity.

The Bank of England is to announce its latest interest rate decision and publish its meeting minute’s along with its quarterly inflation report. BoE Governor Mark Carney, along with other officials, is to hold a press conference to discuss the inflation report.

The U.S. is to release data on jobless claims, factory orders and the ISM is to publish its non-manufacturing index.

 

Friday, August 4

The RBA is to publish its latest monetary policy statement, while Australia is to release data on retail sales.

Both Canada and the U.S. are to round up the week with data on trade and both countries are also set to release their monthly employment reports.

 

Source: Investing.com