(Bloomberg) -- Gold gained as the dollar eased following commentary on the U.S. currency, the merits of massive stimulus, and the outlook for trade from President-elect Joe Biden‘s cabinet nominees.
Biden’s pick for Treasury secretary, former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen, disavowed using exchange-rate policy to obtain a competitive advantage, a difference from Steven Mnuchin, who repeatedly expressed preference for a weaker dollar. At the same time, she did not say she backs a “strong” dollar.
Yellen also told the Senate Finance Committee that the slew of state spending was needed to fight the coronavirus pandemic, while playing down concerns about the rising debt it creates amid an era of enduring low interest rates. Yellen could be confirmed in her role as soon as Thursday.
Gold has declined in the opening weeks of 2021 as Treasury yields gained along with the U.S. currency, while stocks also advanced. Investors are seeking to determine the traditional haven’s outlook under the Biden administration, with the new president set to be inaugurated later Wednesday.
“Gold has been facing headwinds from a strong U.S. dollar and higher real rates so far this year,” said Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at Axicorp. Ltd. While the market is trying to hold prices above key support, gold has struggled to recover convincingly past the $1,850 psychological level, he said.
Spot gold rose 0.3% to $1,846.21 an ounce at 9:22 a.m. in New York, as silver, palladium and platinum all climbed too. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was 0.1% lower after posting a 0.2% loss on Tuesday.
On trade, several cabinet picks signaled the new administration would continue some of Donald Trump’s hard-line policies toward China. Antony Blinken, the choice for secretary of state, said the U.S. should bar goods made in Xinjiang.