The gold markets is holding on to solid gains as U.S. Manufacturing sector maintains its slowest pace of growth in 15 months, according to the latest data from private research firm IHS Markit.
The Firm’s Purchasing Managers Index for December showed sector remains in expansion territory with a reading of 53.8, only a tick down from the previous reading of 53.9. Consensus forecasts showed that economists were expecting to see an unchanged reading.
Any monthly reading above 50 points to an expanding sector, while anything below that shows contraction in activity.
Gold prices were trading just down from it’s a six-month high and continues to hold most of its gains in initial reaction to the data. February gold futures last traded at $1,285.40 an ounce, up 0.32% on the day.
In other components of the report, the analysts noted that job creation in manufacturing was at its lowest level in 18 months and business confidence fell to its lowest level since October 2016.
“Manufacturers reported a weakened pace of expansion at the end of 2018, and grew less upbeat about prospects for 2019. Output and order books grew at the slowest rates for over a year and optimism about the outlook slumped to its gloomiest for over two years. The month rounds of a fourth quarter in which manufacturing production is indicated to have risen at only a modest annualised rate of about 1%,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit.