Investors and traders worldwide will be combing through these scheduled major events and data releases, while keeping a wary eye on the latest headlines on the Russia-Ukraine war:

Monday, March 21

  • CNH: China loan prime rates
  • USD: Fed speak – Fed Chair Jerome Powell, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic

Tuesday, March 22

  • AUD: RBA Governor Philip Lowe speech
  • EUR: ECB President Christine Lagarde speech
  • USD: New York Fed President John Williams speech

Wednesday, March 23

  • GBP: UK February inflation; BOE Governor Andrew Bailey speech;
  • UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivers “Spring Statement” on UK budget
  • USD: Fed Chair Jerome Powell speech
  • EUR: Eurozone March consumer confidence
  • US crude: EIA weekly US crude inventories

Thursday, March 24

  • EUR: Eurozone March PMIs
  • GBP: UK March PMIs
  • USD: US President Biden attends NATO summit; US weekly jobless claims

Friday, March 25

  • EUR: Germany March IFO business climate
  • USD: US March consumer sentiment (final)

 

For gold traders in particular, they’ll be looking for clues on where to next for bullion.

Bullion bulls had a grand ‘ol time a couple of weeks ago, pushing prices to about $4 of its all-time high of $2074.87 (registered back in August 2020).

 

However, since then, the precious metal has been brought back down to earth, even dipping below $1900 earlier this week, as markets refocused their attentions to the Fed’s path forward for US interest rates.

The US central bank confirmed market expectations by raising interest rates this week by 25 basis points – the Fed’s first hike since December 2018.

But what surprised markets was how many hikes the Fed said could be in store for the rest of 2022: six – that’s one hike at each of the FOMC’s remaining six scheduled meetings for 2022.

And then a few more hikes are set to follow in 2023, potentially bringing interest rates closer to 2.8% (as opposed to the near-zero rates for the past two years amid the pandemic).

Overall, the Fed’s message to the markets is that their #1 priority is to combat red-hot inflation, perhaps even at the expense of economic and jobs growth.

READ MORE: Why are markets obsessed about the Fed?

Given such an outlook, no wonder investors were willing to pare down their holdings of gold. After all, the precious metal does not pay any interest or offer any yields. In times when rates are climbing, investors tend to prefer other assets such a higher-yielding debt or dividend-paying stocks.

Still, that doesn’t mean gold is down for the count.

There is that war between Russia and the Ukraine that’s still raging on, which is threatening to drag more of the global economy down with it. Fed Chair Jerome Powell, as well as many other key central bankers around the world, have already spoken of the tremendous uncertainties emanating from this military conflict.

And this is where gold’s safe haven status has been assured.

If Russia proceeds with nuclear threats, as the US administration fears, or if the US threatens to expand its sanctions regime against other major economies such as China, that would certainly invoke more fear across global financial markets. More signs that the Russia-Ukraine war is darkening the global economic outlook should send more investors and traders scurrying to gold once more, bidding its prices up.

In recent sessions, spot gold has been testing its 21-day simple moving average as its immediate resistance level.

Material signs of a further escalation in the Russia-Ukraine war could see bullion prices being jolted higher, despite the threat of higher US interest rates.

 

Disclaimer: The content in this article comprises personal opinions and should not be construed as containing personal and/or other investment advice and/or an offer of and/or solicitation for any transactions in financial instruments and/or a guarantee and/or prediction of future performance. ForexTime (FXTM), its affiliates, agents, directors, officers or employees do not guarantee the accuracy, validity, timeliness or completeness, of any information or data made available and assume no liability as to any loss arising from any investment based on the same.