Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Bengaluru — Gold held firm on Wednesday after falling as much as 1% the session before, with investors waiting for minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting for clues on the timing of interest rate hikes.

Spot gold was steady at $1,236/oz at 3.36am GMT, while US gold futures eased 0.2% to $1,237.

"Although US inflation has risen, the expectation of a rate hike in March is not very high," said Jiang Shu, chief analyst at Shandong Gold Group. "Since gold has only risen since the beginning of this year, the market has some hesitation in moving up further ... but still [prices] have some way to go up."

Traders are looking ahead to the minutes from the Fed’s January 30 to February 1 meeting, due at 7pm GMT on Wednesday.

Spot gold looked neutral in a range of $1,233/oz-$1,240/oz, and an escape could suggest direction, said Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

"Gold held up rather impressively on Tuesday despite a rising dollar (particularly against the euro) and soaring US equity markets," said INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir.

The US dollar, which was boosted by hawkish comments from various Fed officials in the previous session, edged down on Wednesday. San Francisco Fed president John Williams warned on Tuesday that the global drop in interest rates since the financial crisis was likely to persist and would make it harder for central banks to keep world economies healthy. Philadelphia Fed president Patrick Harker suggested he would support an interest rate increase at a mid-March policy meeting as long as inflation, output and other data until then continued to show the US economy was growing.

However, Minneapolis Fed president Neel Kashkari said the US labour market had "more room to run", suggesting he did not believe the central bank should raise rates quickly to head off inflation. Gold is highly sensitive to rising US interest rates, which increase the opportunity cost of holding nonyielding bullion, while also boosting the dollar.

Spot silver was firm at $17.97/oz. Platinum rose 0.3% to $1,001.80, while palladium rose 0.3% to $781.47.


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