As far as the gold market goes, the week ahead could be a busy one. The trading week will be packed with key economic data, the May FOMC meeting announcement, speaking engagements with various Fed officials and more.

 

This week could potentially turn the recent tide of weakness in gold, or it could put considerably more pressure on the yellow metal.

 

On Friday, markets got the latest reading on first quarter GDP which was well below consensus estimates of 1.1% with a reading of just .7%. Consumer spending was a significant drag, as it rose at a rate of just .3%, the worst reading since the fourth quarter of 2009. While the overall report could be considered mixed, the lack of growth in consumer spending could potentially be indicative of recession.

 

This weaker than expected GDP figure could make this week’s FOMC meeting a bit more interesting. Although markets are pricing in only a very small chance of a rate hike from the central bank this week, the Fed may offer some significant clues about its plans going forward and its overall assessment of economic activity.

 

Fed Funds futures contracts are still pointing to a very strong likelihood of a June rate hike from the central bank, although numerous issues could potentially put the Fed in a difficult position.

 

Friday’s poor GDP data may give the central bank a reason for pause, and could increase any concerns the Fed may have about extinguishing growth by being overly aggressive in its efforts to normalize monetary policy.

 

Not only does the Fed have to contend with the GDP figures and some other areas of economic weakness, but it may also weigh the current geopolitical landscape as well. In addition, if the Trump administration does not make more concrete progress on some of its key policy initiatives, investors may become nervous and the stock market could potentially begin to slide-a development that the central bank could also consider.

 

All in all, the Fed could very well find itself between a rock and a hard place as it considers rising price pressures with the possibility of slowing economic activity. Ongoing tensions with North Korea and Russia may only complicate matters further, and markets could be vulnerable to increasing volatility in the coming weeks and months.

 

What all of this could mean for gold remains to be determined. The yellow metal has been pulling back in recent trade, although its uptrend remains intact.

 

A more dovish tone from the Fed this week could send gold back to its recent highs or beyond, while a more hawkish tone could potentially fuel further downside pressure. The market may not fall far, however, given the current state of geopolitics and what appears to be increasing chances of military action against North Korea.

 

Investors and the gold market will also continue to pay attention to the French elections, with the next round of elections to take place on May 7th. This election, and other upcoming European elections have the potential to make or break the European Union as it exists today and could have far-reaching effects on global financial markets.