Gold loses footing as focus turns to Fed minutes

By Anjana Anil

(Reuters) – Gold prices declined on Monday weighed down by an uptick in U.S. Treasury yields, with investors awaiting minutes of the Federal Reserve’s last meeting for cues on the central bank’s interest rate path.

Spot gold was down 0.4% to $1,972.60 per ounce as of 1550 GMT (1050 ET), after rising as high as $1,993.29 on Friday. U.S. gold futures fell 0.5% to $1,975.00.

“Technically we’ve seen gold hit resistance and is back to range bound trading with somewhat higher rates as a catalyst here,” said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategies at TD Securities.

The Fed was expected to maintain its narrative that monetary policy will depend on inflation and that it will keep rates elevated for as long as necessary, he added.

The minutes of the Fed meeting will be released on Tuesday.

Last week’s data reignited hopes that the Fed could begin easing monetary conditions sooner than expected after a slowing jobs market and a weaker-than-expected consumer inflation report.

Lower interest rates exert downward pressure on the dollar and bond yields, enhancing the appeal of non-yielding bullion.

Precious metals bulls have lost momentum and need fresh, fundamental impetus, analysts at Kitco Metals said in a note.

Rising U.S. Treasury yields are trumping a lower U.S. dollar and higher crude oil prices to keep gold and silver buyers skittish, Kitco said.

The dollar slipped 0.4% to a more than 2-1/2-month low against a basket of its rivals, limiting gold’s losses today. [USD/]

Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 1.5% on Friday. [GOL/ETF]

Elsewhere, spot silver slipped 0.9% to $23.52 per ounce. Platinum jumped 1.6% to $913.20 and palladium gained 2.4% to $1,077.66 per ounce, both touching their highest in about 2 weeks.

(Reporting by Anjana Anil in Bengaluru; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)