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Gold grain at a refinery in Russia. Picture: BLOOMBERG/ANDREY RUDAKOV
Gold grain at a refinery in Russia. Picture: BLOOMBERG/ANDREY RUDAKOV

Bengaluru — Gold prices held steady on Monday as market participants gauged the global economic policy outlook, with inflationary hedge demand countering hawkish comments from US Federal Reserve officials that kept the dollar and Treasury yields supported.

Spot gold was little changed at $1,818.76 per ounce by 5.30am. US gold futures were also unchanged, at $1,817.90.

“Gold has been locked in sideways consolidation for a while now, the market is still undecided on where it's going,” OCBC Bank economist Howie Lee said, adding that “there's still some lingering demand as an inflation hedge.”

US 10-year Treasury yields hovered near two-year highs hit in the previous week, after the Fed said manufacturing output dropped 0.3% in December, shy of an estimate calling for a 0.5% rise.

Traders are now awaiting speeches from Fed officials this week ahead of the January 25-26 policy meeting, but there have been more than enough hawkish comments to see the market almost fully price in a first interest rate hike for March and rates of 1.0% by the year-end.

Gold is considered an inflationary hedge, but the metal is highly sensitive to rising US interest rates, which increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

The dollar index held onto Friday's gains, as selling pressure abated driven by the view that the Fed's tightening moves were largely priced in.

Investors are also on the lookout for the Bank of Japan policy meeting, which concludes on Tuesday, British inflation data on Wednesday and Australian jobs figures on Thursday.

Spot gold remains neutral in a range of $1,815-$1,830 per ounce, and an escape could suggest a direction, according to Reuters' technical analyst Wang Tao.

Spot silver shed 0.1% to $22.93 an ounce, platinum was down 0.2% to $967.99, and palladium fell 0.4% to $1,870.29.



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