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Gold advances as Fed signals slower rate hikes

One kilo gold bars are pictured at the plant of gold and silver refiner and bar manufacturer Argor-Heraeus in Mendrisio, Switzerland, July 13, 2022.

Denis Balibouse | Reuters

 Gold prices bounced above the key $1,750 an ounce level on Thursday, consolidating gains after minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest meeting signalled slower interest rate hikes.

Spot gold rose 0.4% to $1,755.73 per ounce by 0321 GMT. U.S. gold futures advanced 0.6% to $1,755.90.

Lower rates tend to lift the appeal for bullion in comparison with other interest-bearing assets. High interest rates have kept a leash on gold’s traditional status as a hedge against high inflation and other uncertainties this year as they translate into higher opportunity cost to hold the non-yielding asset.

The minutes of the Fed’s Nov. 1-2 meeting showed that a “substantial majority” of Fed policymakers agreed it would “likely soon be appropriate” to slow the pace of interest rate hikes.

Fed fund futures are now pricing in an 85% chance of 50-basis point (bps) increase in the December meeting, after four straight 75 bps hikes.

“The FOMC minutes and the perceived response from markets that a slowing down of rate hikes – alongside the extreme seasonal pattern of buying in late November-December into end of the first quarter – has driven the metals markets higher into Asia,” said David Mitchell, managing director at Singapore’s Indigo Precious Metals.

Providing a further fillip to gold and precious metals overall, the dollar was broadly lower following the Fed minutes. A weaker dollar makes bullion cheaper for overseas buyers.

However, spot gold may end its bounce around a technical resistance of $1,757 per ounce and resume its drop thereafter, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

Market activity was likely to be relatively muted by the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.

Physical gold demand in Asia, meanwhile, stayed soft this week, with premiums in top hub China easing further as fresh COVID-19 restrictions dimmed activity, while higher domestic prices put off most buyers in India.

Spot silver rose 0.5% to $21.62 per ounce, platinum added 0.3% to $999.38, while palladium gained 0.7% to $1,894.75.

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