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Gold edges lower on dollar gains, market expectation of more rate hike

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Gold prices eased on Wednesday as the U.S. dollar regained some ground, while market participants assessed the chances of the Federal Reserve raising interest rates just once more in May before pausing.

Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $2,003.99 per ounce, as of 0526 GMT. U.S. gold futures fell 0.2 percent to $2,015.80.

The dollar index was up 0.1 percent, making gold less affordable for buyers holding other currencies.

“Expectations are already priced in for a 25 basis-point hike, leaving much of the focus on whether a rate pause will be signaled thereafter,” said Yeap Jun Rong, a market analyst at IG.

“While that may provide an anchor for gold prices, given the recent rally and overextended technical conditions, the possibility of some unwinding (in prices) upon validation of the Fed’s rate outlook may still remain on the table.”

The CME FedWatch tool shows an 84.6 percent chance of a 25 basis-point hike in May, with rate cuts expected in the back half of the year.

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Higher interest rates dim non-yielding bullion’s appeal.

The Fed should continue raising rates on the back of recent data showing inflation remains persistent while the broader economy seems poised to continue growing, even if slowly, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said on Tuesday.

But Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic said one more hike “should be enough” before taking a step back to “see how our policy is flowing through the economy.”

Investors are trying to gauge whether the likely rate hike in May will be the last before the Fed pauses, and are focussing on more comments from Fed officials this week before they enter a blackout period from April 22 ahead of the May meeting.

Gold might retest a support at $1,991, Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao said.

Among other precious metals, spot silver fell 0.2 percent to $25.16 per ounce, platinum dipped 0.7 percent to $1,075.33 and palladium gained 1.1 percent to $1,626.18.

(First published by Reuters)

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