During the June meeting, the majority of Federal Reserve officials hinted at further tightening of monetary policy, albeit at a slower pace compared to the rapid rate increases witnessed since early 2022.
The minutes released on Wednesday revealed that policymakers opted against an immediate rate rise due to concerns about economic growth. However, they acknowledged the likelihood of future hikes and emphasized the importance of a brief pause to evaluate the impacts of the previous increases.
The minutes also highlighted some differences of opinion among committee members.
Contrary to expectations, the US labor market remained robust in June, with companies creating a significantly higher number of jobs than anticipated. Payroll processing firm ADP reported a surge of 497,000 private sector jobs for the month, surpassing the downwardly revised May gain of 267,000 and surpassing the consensus estimate of 220,000 from Dow Jones. This marked the largest monthly rise since July 2022.
Thursday’s data further revealed that private payrolls surged while the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits experienced a moderate increase. These findings suggest that the labor market continues to exhibit stability.
On Friday, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that nonfarm payrolls in the US rose by 209,000 in June, slightly below market expectations of 225,000. The unemployment rate remained at 3.6%, in line with forecasts. Average Hourly Earnings also showed a 0.4% increase, with the previous month’s figure revised upward to 0.4% as well.
This announcement placed renewed selling pressure on the US Dollar (USD).
Concurrently, the British Pound (GBP) reached a two-week high of $1.2780 as market participants speculated that the Bank of England would raise interest rates to 6.5% early next year, surpassing the previously projected peak of 6.25%.
Amidst recent US jobs data and hawkish comments from Federal Reserve policymakers, gold prices were poised for a fourth consecutive weekly loss. These developments strengthened expectations for higher and more prolonged interest rates.