Gold prices moved slightly higher on Tuesday after signs of increasing demand from India and China and investors looked ahead to a speech from Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell as well as appearances from other policymakers.
At 10:55 AM ET (15:55 GMT), gold futures for April delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange edged forward $1.05, or 0.08%, to $1,312.95 a troy ounce.
ING Head of Commodities Strategy Warren Patterson highlighted two bullish factors related to gold demand in his daily note.
First, Patterson noted a 64% increase in Indian gold imports during January and suggested that 2019 could be a better year for the precious metal thanks to “higher government spending ahead of general elections and monetary easing by the Reserve Bank of India”.
With regard to China, he noted that the central bank increased its gold holdings for a second consecutive month.
Meanwhile, traders looked ahead to appearances from Federal Reserve policymakers. The focus will fall on Powell, who will be speaking at the Hope Enterprise Corporation Rural Policy Forum, in Mississippi, at 12:45 PM ET (17:45 GMT).
Speeches from Cleveland Fed president Loretta Mester and Kansas City Fed chief Esther George are also on the agenda later in the evening.
Market expectations for a Fed rate hike this year are hanging by a thread, according to 's Fed Rate Monitor Tool, after the U.S. central bank last month pledged to be patient with further rate hikes.
Expectations for a slower-than-originally estimated pace of tightening decreases the pressure on gold, which doesn’t bear interest.
In other metals trading, silver futures dipped 0.11% at $15.672 a troy ounce by 10:56 AM ET (15:56 GMT).
Palladium futures gained 0.95% to $1,369.70 an ounce, while sister metal platinum traded up 0.36% at $789.40.
In base metals, copper declined 0.93% to $2.764 a pound.