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Gold price pares losses as Fed's Powell talks inflation uncertainty, stresses it's 'premature' to raise rates – Kitco NEWS

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(Kitco News) Gold pared some of its losses, rising from daily lows as Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell talked about inflation uncertainty but stressed that it is “premature to raise rates today.”

“Inflation has come in higher than expected. Bottlenecks have been more persistent and are on track to persist well into next year. I don’t think we are behind the curve. The policy is well-positioned to address the range of plausible outcomes. It will be premature to raise rates today. We want to see the labor market heal more,” Powell said at a conference that followed the Fed’s interest rate announcement.

The Fed Chair admitted that high inflation is concerning and will likely last well into next year while still maintaining the word transitory.

“Inflation in the medium-term … is our job. The level of inflation that we have right now is not consistent with price stability,” he said. “For us, transitory has meant that it won’t leave behind permanent or persistently higher inflation … We acknowledge uncertainty around transitory.”

Powell also noted that the word “transitory” has attracted a lot of attention and could be distracting from the Fed’s overall message.

“We try to focus on what we can control. The focus of this meeting is on tapering and not raising rates. There’s still ground to cover to reach maximum employment,” he described. “Our baseline expectation is that supply shortages and elevated inflation will persist well into next year. As bottlenecks resolve … inflation should move down by the second or third quarter of next year.”

Powell sounded sympathetic when addressing concerns over rising prices, putting the blame on supply constraints. “We understand the difficulties high inflation poses. Our tools cannot ease supply constraints. We continue to believe our economy adjusts to supply-demand imbalances and inflation adjusts to 2%. But the timing is highly uncertain,” he said.

The Fed Chair is also not ruling out achieving full employment by the middle of next year, which could open the door to interest rate hikes.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Fed announced that it would start to wind down its monthly asset purchases in November at a pace of $15 billion per month, citing substantial further progress made.

“The Committee decided to begin reducing the monthly pace of its net asset purchases by $10 billion for Treasury securities and $5 billion for agency mortgage-backed securities,” the Fed’s statement said. “Beginning later this month, the Committee will increase its holdings of Treasury securities by at least $70 billion per month and of agency mortgage backed securities by at least $35 billion per month. Beginning in December, the Committee will increase its holdings of Treasury securities by at least $60 billion per month and of agency mortgage-backed securities by at least $30 billion per month.”

The Fed added that it is prepared to adjust that pace based on changes in the economic outlook. “The Committee’s assessments will take into account a wide range of information, including readings on public health, labor market conditions, inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and financial and international developments.”

The central bank also expressed concern over inflation. “Inflation is elevated, largely reflecting factors that are expected to be transitory. Supply and demand imbalances related to the pandemic and the reopening of the economy have contributed to sizable price increases in some sectors,” the central bank said in a statement.

Gold rose around $15 from its daily lows in response to Powell’s comments that showed that the Fed was not in a rush to raise rates. At the time of writing, December Comex gold futures were trading at $1,773.70, down 0.88% on the day.

Live 24 hours gold chart [Kitco Inc.]

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Google real estate executive says 5% more workers coming in to office each week

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Alphabet Inc’s Google has seen an increasing number of employees coming in to its offices each week, particularly younger workers, the company’s real estate chief said during an interview at the Reuters Next conference on Friday.

On Thursday, Google indefinitely pushed back the mandated return date for employees due to concerns about the Omicron variant. The company had previously said its 150,000 global employees could be required to come in to the office as soon as Jan. 10.

Nevertheless, David Radcliffe, Google’s vice president for real estate and workplace services, said many Googlers are returning of their own volition. About 40% of its U.S. employees on average came in to the office daily in recent weeks, up from 20-25% three months ago, he said. Globally, 5% more employees are returning to offices week after week, he added.

“People are actually showing voluntarily that they want to be back in the office,” Radcliffe said. “We’re moving in the right direction.”

Younger employees and those who joined Google more recently have been coming in at higher rates, seeking opportunities to learn from colleagues, Radcliffe added.

Google expects workers in the office at least three days a week once it mandates a new return date.

Based on feedback from those already back, it is redesigning floor plans to increase private, quiet spaces for distraction-free individual work and adding conferencing and other collaboration areas in open spaces both indoors and outdoors.

Real estate and human resources experts have considered Google a trailblazer for the past 20 years in sustainable office design and variety of workplace perks, including free meals, massages and gyms.

To extend those sustainability and wellness benefits to remote work, Google has encouraged employees to buy carbon offsets and non-toxic furniture for their home offices. It also has provided free cooking classes and discounts to fitness studios near workers’ homes.

“It was amazing how many employees had really never cooked themselves,” Radcliffe said.

 

(Reporting by Paresh Dave in Oakland, Calif., and Julia Love in San Francisco; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall and Matthew Lewis)

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S&P/TSX composite down nearly 200 points, U.S. stock markets also lower – Business News – Castanet.net

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Canada’s main stock index was down nearly 200 points in late-morning trading, led lower by losses in the technology, base metal and industrial sectors, while U.S. stock markets also fell.

The S&P/TSX composite index was down 176.86 points at 20,585.17.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 160.83 points at 34,478.96. The S&P 500 index was down 48.14 points at 4,528.96, while the Nasdaq composite was down 341.27 points at 15,040.05.

The Canadian dollar traded for 78.05 cents US compared with 78.03 cents US on Thursday.

The January crude oil contract was up US$1.54 at US$68.04 per barrel and the January natural gas contract was up eight cents at US$4.14 per mmBTU.

The February gold contract was up US$14.90 at US$1,777.60 an ounce and the March copper contract was down two cents at US$4.28 a pound.

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Canada secures orders of Merck, Pfizer COVID-19 antiviral pills – Globalnews.ca

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The federal government has signed purchase agreements with two pharmaceutical companies for their oral COVID-19 treatments.

Filomena Tassi, Canada’s minister of public services and procurement, told reporters on Friday the government has signed agreements with Pfizer and Merck to buy up to 1.5 million courses of their antiviral treatment, PF-07321332 and Molnupiravir.

Both treatments are under Health Canada review, Tassi added.

“We also know that access to effective, easy-to-use treatments is critical to reducing the severity of COVID infections and will help save lives,” she said.

“As soon as these drugs are authorized for use, the government will work on getting them to provinces and territories as quickly as possible so that health-care providers can help Canadians who need them most.”

Read more:

Canadians 18+ should be offered COVID-19 booster 6 months after 2nd shot, NACI says

As part of its initial order, the government has reached an agreement with Pfizer for one million courses of its treatment, pending Health Canada approval.

The government’s deal with Merck is for up to 500,000 courses of its treatment, with an option to add 500,000 more pending approval, Tassi added.


Click to play video: 'Pfizer, Merck press ahead with pills to treat COVID-19'



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Pfizer, Merck press ahead with pills to treat COVID-19


Pfizer, Merck press ahead with pills to treat COVID-19 – Nov 5, 2021

On Wednesday, Pfizer started a rolling submission with Health Canada for its pill, which it said is designed to block a key enzyme needed for the COVID-19 virus to multiply.

Pfizer also said its treatment can cut the chance of hospitalization or death for adults at risk of severe disease by 89 per cent.

Read more:

COVID-19 antiviral pill approved in U.K. still being reviewed by Health Canada

Meanwhile, Merck’s pill is still under review by Health Canada as the company continues its rolling submission.

Last week, Merck shared data suggesting its drug was significantly less effective than previously thought, reducing hospitalizations and deaths in high-risk individuals by around 30 per cent.

The treatment has received approval in the United Kingdom.

— with files from The Canadian Press and Reuters

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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