Gold steadies near one-week high ahead of Fed minutes

Gold steadies near one-week high ahead of Fed minutes

By Renita D. Young and Zandi Shabalala

NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) - Gold prices steadied after rising to their highest in a over week on Wednesday, as the dollar eased ahead of minutes from the Federal Reserve's August policy meeting and trade talks between Chinese and U.S. officials.

The Fed minutes, due at 2 p.m EDT (1800 GMT), are expected to cement market assumptions for two more interest rate increases this year, which do not bode well for non-interest yielding bullion, although analysts said this was already largely factored into the gold price.

Rising interest rates lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding metal while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced.

"The Fed was sounding relatively hawkish when it met last month and the outlook is likely to be for another rate rise later this year and that is largely within the gold price," said Mitsubishi analyst John Butler.

In the meantime, Butler said, the weaker dollar would help gold test the key psychological level of $1,200, lifting it from currently oversold levels. Gold touched a more than 1-1/2-year low last week.

Spot gold was flat at $1,195.95 an ounce by 1:37 p.m. EDT (1737 GMT), after earlier hitting $1,201.51, its highest since Aug. 13. U.S. gold futures for December delivery settled up $3.30, or 0.3 percent, at $1,203.30 per ounce.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was weaker, after earlier falling to 94.93, its lowest since Aug. 2.

"I think this is a correction to refresh and determine what the next path is. Today, you're kind of trading in the middle," said Rob Haworth, senior investment strategist for U.S. Bank Wealth Management.

U.S. President Donald Trump's displeasure with rising interest rates had weighed on the dollar ahead of the Fed's minutes and its annual economic symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which will begin on Friday.

Gold prices have slid more than 12 percent since hitting a high of $1,365.23 in April amid U.S. interest rate hikes and a soaring dollar.

Markets also looked ahead to trade talks between Chinese and U.S. officials expected to begin later on Wednesday in Washington.

Meanwhile, liquidations continued at SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund.

Net shorts in COMEX gold contracts rose to a record high in the week ending Aug. 14, U.S. government data showed.

Spot silver edged up 0.1 percent at $14.76 an ounce, earlier hitting $14.88, a one-week high.

Platinum slipped 0.4 percent to $789.50, while palladium rose to 0.9 percent at $924.25 per ounce, earlier peaking at $926.25, its highest since Aug. 1.

(Additional reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Susan Fenton and Dan Grebler)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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Updated Date: Aug 23, 2018 00:05 AM

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