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Picture: 123RF/STRELOK
Picture: 123RF/STRELOK

Bengaluru — Gold prices fell on Wednesday, as higher US treasury yields and a looming interest rate hike announcement by the Federal Reserve dented demand for zero-yield bullion.

Spot gold was down 0.3% at $1,862.48/oz, at 2.17am GMT. US gold futures fell 0.4% to $1,82.40. Benchmark US 10-year treasury yields firmed after backing off the key 3% mark in the previous session, ahead of a widely expected big interest rate hike from the Fed as it attempts to contain soaring US inflation.

While gold is seen as an inflation hedge, higher short-term US interest rates and bond yields tend to increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yield bullion.

The US central bank’s Federal open market committee (FOMC) is set to release a policy statement at 6pm GMT, followed by Fed chair Jerome Powell’s news conference. Market expects a decision on raising the benchmark overnight interest rates and details on reducing the Fed’s $8.9-trillion balance sheet.

“A 50-basis-point hike is now priced in by markets ... If the statement has a still more hawkish bias, then gold is likely to come under pressure once again,” said Oanda senior analyst Jeffrey Halley. “If the statement remains mostly unchanged in its guidance, then a short-term recovery to $1,880 is possible as the US dollar is likely to fall.”

The dollar remained close to 20-year peaks, making greenback-priced gold less attractive for overseas buyers.

Russian forces pounded targets in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday, even as the EU prepared to slap oil sanctions on Moscow. Bullion is seen as a safe store of value during times of economic and political crises.

Spot silver dipped 0.1% to $22.54/oz, while platinum was nearly unchanged at $961.62, and palladium gained 0.2% to $2,260.28.



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