MTECHTIPS:-Gold gains slightly in Asia as China GDP, retail sales better than seen
Gold prices gained slightly in Asia on Wednesday as China reported better than expected GDP, industrial output and retail sales and ahead of a contemns by the Federal Reserve chief. Investors await the start of Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen’s two-day testimony before Congress on Wednesday for further indications on the timing of a highly-anticipated interest rate hike. On Friday, Yellen said the Fed anticipates raising interest rates later this year if the U.S. economy and labor markets continue to show improvement in the coming weeks. China reported 7.0% year-on-year GDP growth in the second quarter, better than the 6.9% pace seen, while industrial output jumped 6.8% in June year-on-year, compared to a gain of 6.0% expected. Retail sales jumped 10.6%, better than the 10.2% increase seen in June. Earlier, Australia’s Westpac-MI Consumer Confidence survey for July fell 3.2% to 92.2, the lowest since December last year. “Despite current market expectations we would also put a limited chance of a move in November,” Westpac chief economist Bill Evans said. “In fact we are comfortable to retain the view that rates will remain on hold for the remainder of this year and throughout 2016.” The Bank of Japan voted 8 to 1 as expected on Wednesday to keep monetary policy steady as board member Takahide Kiuchi once again dissented and called for a cut in outright government bond buying by nearly half.