Gold steadies as traders brace for Fed speeches

By Harshit Verma

(Reuters) – Gold held steady after briefly trimming gains on Thursday as data showed tightness in the U.S. job market, with focus now shifting to a host of Federal Reserve speakers for cues on interest rate hikes.

Spot gold was up 0.1% at $1,918.68 per ounce by 1:47 p.m. EDT (1747 GMT), after hitting a one-week low on Wednesday. U.S. gold futures settled 0.1% lower at $1,942.50 per ounce.

Gold is choppy due to a lack of fresh fundamental news and it is just trading on technicals favouring the bearish camp at the moment, but some short covering on the dips based on some perceived value buying is keeping it afloat, said Jim Wyckoff, senior market analyst at Kitco.

Gold held firm despite an uptick in the dollar. Meanwhile, a drop in benchmark 10-year Treasury yields below a two-week peak scaled in the previous session offered some support to bullion. [US/] [USD/]

According to the CME FedWatch tool, traders see a 93% chance of the Fed leaving rates unchanged at its Sept. 19-20 meeting.

Higher U.S. interest rates raise the opportunity cost of holding gold, which does not earn any interest.

“Fed is dealing with a double-edged sword because if it continues to raise interest rates at a time of rising crude oil prices, it risks pushing the US economy into recession. However, it also has to worry about rising inflation due to rising oil prices,” Wyckoff said.

Investors will be watching closely the Fed presidents lined up to speak throughout the day. [FED/DIARY].

U.S. economic growth was “modest” in recent weeks amid cooling job growth and inflation in most parts of the country, the Fed’s “Beige Book” published on Wednesday showed.

Silver fell about 1% to $22.95 per ounce, platinum lost 0.3% to $905.75 and palladium eased 0.1% to $1,214.11.

(Reporting by Harshit Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli, Shailesh Kuber and Diane Craft)