Gold stalls as market awaits Fed minutes for rate-hike path

Gold stalls as market awaits Fed minutes for rate-hike path
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BENGALURU (Nov 22): Gold prices were flat on Wednesday (Nov 23), as investors held back from making big bets ahead of the US Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting minutes, which could offer clues on further interest rate hikes.

Spot gold was flat at US$1,740.23 per ounce by 0306 GMT. US gold futures were also unchanged at US$1,740.50.

"There is some nervousness in the market ahead of the Fed minutes," said Edward Meir, an analyst with ED&F Man Capital Markets.

The minutes of Fed's Nov 1-2 policy meeting are due at 1900 GMT. US durable goods data and weekly initial jobless claims are also on the radar.

At the beginning of this month, the US central bank delivered a fourth consecutive 75-basis-point rate hike to tame inflation in what has become the fastest tightening of monetary policy in 40 years.

The Fed may need to raise interest rates to a higher level and hold them there for longer in order to successfully moderate consumer demand and bring down high inflation, Kansas City Fed President Esther George said on Tuesday.

Although gold is seen as a hedge against inflation, rising US interest rates dull non-yielding bullion's appeal.

"In the near term, expect gold prices to work a bit higher from here into year-end because I see the dollar weakening some more and we are very close to peaking out on inflation and interest rates," Meir said.

Fed fund futures are now pricing in a 79% chance of 50-basis point hike in the December meeting.

Gold may bounce into a range of US$1,751-US$1,756 per ounce, before falling again, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

Spot silver was little changed at US$21.07 per ounce, while platinum and palladium were flat at US$990.70 and US$1,860.89, respectively.