The situation with the U.S. debt ceiling is at the center of market participants' attention. Republicans insist on significant budget cuts, while Democrats, along with U.S. President Joe Biden, demand an increase in the limit without any conditions. As recently stated by U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling to $31.4 trillion before the Treasury runs out of money and is forced to declare a default, difficult choices will have to be made regarding payments to Americans. Yellen stressed that June 1 remains a "hard deadline" for raising the debt ceiling, and if the limit is not raised or entirely canceled, the U.S. will be unable to pay its bills.
In the current environment of uncertainty, many economists predict an increase in demand for safe-haven assets, particularly gold.
Currently, gold has experienced a significant correction in price, declining by 5.1% from this month's local peak of $2,062.00 per ounce. For now, gold is under pressure from the dollar, which finds support from the rise in U.S. government bond yields as investors continue to sell them, hedging against the likelihood of a U.S. default. If it is indeed declared, bondholders risk not receiving anything in return (in the worst-case scenario).
From today's economic calendar events, market participants will follow the release (at 12:30 GMT) of the second estimate of U.S. GDP for the first quarter, with the indicator expected to remain at 1.1%, and the U.S. Department of Labor's report on the number of initial and continuing jobless claims. The state of the labor market (along with GDP and inflation data) is a key indicator for the Federal Reserve in determining the parameters of its monetary policy.
A result above expectations and an increase in the indicator indicate weakness in the labor market, which has a negative impact on the U.S. dollar. A decline in the indicator and its low value are signs of labor market recovery and may have a short-term positive impact on the USD.
Previous (weekly) values for initial jobless claims were 242,000, 264,000, 242,000, 230,000, 245,000, and for continuing jobless claims, 1,799,000, 1,813,000, 1,805,000, 1,858,000, 1,865,000.
An increase in the indicators to 245,000 and 1.8 million, respectively, is expected.
At the same time, data on the dynamics of pending home sales volumes will be published, with an expected increase of +1.0% following a decline of -5.2% in March.
From a technical standpoint, XAU/USD is developing a short-term downward dynamics towards key support levels at 1905.00, 1896.00, and 1882.00. A breakthrough of the 1872.00 support level and further decline would signify a break in the medium-term bullish trend.
Overall, the long-term upward dynamics of XAU/USD remain intact above the support levels of 1742.00 and 1722.00, and our main forecast is for a resumption of its growth, but after breaking through the resistance zone at 1974.00, 1980.00, and 1987.00.
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