By Barani Krishnan.
Investing.com — Inflation is everywhere. And gold bulls are lapping it up.
U.S. gold futures hit four-week peaks on Friday as stocks on Wall Street took their worst beating in three weeks after the latest reading on U.S. inflation showed 41-year highs that suggested the Federal Reserve could get more aggressive with rate hikes.
Gold is supposed to be a hedge against inflation and it typically rallies when investors become worried about a reduction in the purchasing power of the dollar. But it’s not a perfect correlation as gold has also broken down various times this year when inflation data came in higher.
Further confounding the hedging theory, gold and the dollar have also rallied together on various occasions this year as inflation concerns propped up bullion prices while the greenback rose on expectations of Fed rate hikes.
That was the situation on Friday.
The US Consumer Price Index grew by 8.6% during the year to May, expanding by its fastest rate since 1981, as the cost of virtually everything — from food to fuel, shelter and clothing — rose again last month, the Labor Department said.
The average pump price of gasoline, particularly, hit more than $5 a gallon on Thursday for the first time ever in the United States, according to data from fuel price tracking service GasBuddy.
Separately, the University of Michigan said its closely-followed US Consumer Sentiment Index hit a record low in its latest survey for June as Americans become increasingly disillusioned with inflation taking a bigger bite of their paychecks each month.
Reacting to the various inflation data, front-month gold futures for August on New York’s Comex rallied to just shy of $1,880 an ounce by 1:00 PM ET (17:00 GMT), showing a gain of almost $25 or 1.3% on the day. For the week, the benchmark gold futures contract was also up 1.3%.
The Dollar Index, which pits the greenback against six other major currencies, hit a three-week high of 104.23. U.S. bond yields, led by returns on the 10-year Treasury note hit a one month high of 3.17%.
“The initial shock of a scorching hot inflation report sent gold prices to fresh session lows as traders quickly bumped up Fed rate hike expectations for the September meeting,” said Ed Moya, analyst at online trading platform OANDA. “Then the 5-year and 30-year Treasury yields inverted and growth concerns triggered some safe-haven flows for gold.”