Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

Bengaluru — Gold prices were steady on Wednesday, after falling to one-week lows the session before, with investors waiting for the conclusion of the US Federal Reserve’s meeting later in the day for clues on the timing of future interest rate hikes.

“The rate hike is almost a done deal, it is quite clear that they will most likely increase rates by another 25 basis points, but the market watchers are looking very closely at the language rather than the rate hike,” OCBC analyst Barnabas Gan said.

“People will be looking very closely to see if there’s any forward guidance that will indicate if there will be a fourth rate hike into the year-end.”

A Fed statement is expected at 8pm South African time.

Spot gold was little changed at $1,295.30 an ounce at 3.50am GMT. It touched a one-week low of $1292.60 in the previous session.

US gold futures for August delivery were 0.04% lower at $1,298.90/oz.

The metal is highly sensitive to US interest rates, which lift the opportunity cost of holding nonyielding bullion and boost the dollar, in which it is priced.

US monthly consumer inflation rose moderately in May, suggesting the Federal Reserve could continue to gradually raise interest rates this year.

“We could see further weakness (in gold prices) heading into the Fed meeting on Wednesday, as the dollar might rally going into the policy statement,” INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir said in a note.

The dollar, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was up 0.3% at ¥110.66, its highest since May 23.

“Beyond the Fed, the ECB meeting tomorrow will also be important. Both the meetings have come hand in hand in trying to think about how gold prices will move,” Gan said.

The European Central Bank (ECB) meets on Thursday, when it could signal intentions to start unwinding its massive bond-purchasing programme.

The Bank of Japan’s policy meeting is also due later in the week.

In other precious metals, silver fell 0.4% to $16.78/oz. It hit a seven-week high of $16.95 in the previous session.

Platinum was 0.1% lower at $893.24/oz, while palladium rose 0.1% to $1,019.40/oz.

Reuters