November 22, 2017
PRECIOUS-Gold sluggish ahead of Fed meeting minutes
(Reuters) - Gold prices remained in a narrow range on Wednesday as investors remained cautious ahead of the release of minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's last meeting, which could offer hints on the outlook for the central bank's monetary policy.
Spot gold was nearly unchanged at $1,280.20 per ounce by 0421 GMT.
U.S. gold futures for December delivery were down 0.1 percent at $1,280.10.
"We are not really sure that this (Fed meeting minutes) will have much of an impact given that the decision to raise rates in December is pretty much a forgone conclusion," INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir said.
"Nevertheless, we suspect that investors will want to see what policymakers are thinking about the rate situation and how aggressive they will be on this front going forward."
The Fed kept interest rates unchanged at its last meeting, minutes of which will be released on Wednesday.
The Fed is "reasonably close" to its goals and should keep gradually raising U.S. interest rates to avoid the dual pitfalls of letting inflation drift below target for too long, and of driving unemployment down too far, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said on Tuesday.
Higher interest rates help the dollar gain and push bond yields up, putting pressure on gold prices by increasing the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.
Spot gold looks neutral in a narrow range of $1,274-$1,283 per ounce, and an escape could suggest a direction, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.
In other markets, the dollar treaded water against its peers on Wednesday, capped as U.S. Treasury yields failed to rise despite increasing investor risk appetite in broader financial market.
Amid lack of investment demand, gold's inverse relationship with the dollar is the strongest in more than a decade, Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke said in a note.
"While the dollar is unlikely to return to its recent peak, we still see upside from current levels as the U.S. Federal Reserve continues to hike interest rates. This should weigh on gold prices heading into next year."
A stronger greenback makes dollar-denominated gold more expensive for holders of other currencies.
In other metals, silver was down 0.1 percent at $16.93 an ounce, while platinum dipped 0.2 percent to $930.85. Palladium gained 0.1 percent to $999.55 an ounce.