By Ambar Warrick– Gold prices retreated from a 2-½ month high on Monday as comments from some members of the Federal Reserve suggested that the bank will continue to act tough against inflation, while copper prices fell slightly as investors locked in stellar gains from last week.

Bullion prices logged their best week in 30 months after U.S. inflation read lower than expected for October, boosting hopes that the Fed will soften its hawkish stance in the coming months and reduce pressure on metal markets from rising interest rates.

Expectations that the Fed will hike rates by a smaller 50 basis points in December grew substantially after the reading, with markets pricing in a nearly 81% chance of a smaller hike.

But Fed Governor Christopher Waller said on Sunday that while the bank is considering a slower pace of rate hikes, it should not be seen as softening in its battle against inflation.

While October’s inflation reading was milder than expected, it was still well above the Fed’s 2% annual target. This is likely to see the bank keep raising interest rates, until it sees clear signs that inflation is easing. Elevated interest rates are expected to weigh on metal markets in the near-term.

Spot gold fell 0.4% to $1,764.24 an ounce, while gold futures fell a similar amount to $1,766.95 an ounce. Both instruments surged over $90 in the past week, while the dollar retreated.

But the yellow metal is still down against the dollar this year, with prices down substantially from their annual peaks of over $2,000. The metal lost its safe haven status, and also largely failed as an inflation hedge this year as rising interest rates pushed up the cost of holding non-yielding assets.

Among industrial metals, copper prices inched lower from a near five-month high, as investors collected profits from a bumper rally last week.

Copper futures fell 0.1% to $3.9322 a pound after rallying over 12% in the past two weeks. Sentiment towards the red metal was greatly boosted by China, the world’s largest importer, scaling back some anti-COVID measures for the first time ever.

Markets are now pricing in a potential reopening in China in 2023, which is expected to boost copper demand. Supply of the red metal is also expected to tighten in the coming months due to disruptions in major producers Chile and Peru.

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