October 18, 2018
PRECIOUS-Gold holds tight range as dollar firms, stocks ease
(Reuters) - Gold prices held steady in a narrow range on Thursday as Asian shares eased, while the dollar
firmed after minutes of the Federal Reserve's September meeting reinforced expectations of a tighter U.S. monetary policy.
Fed policymakers are largely united on the need to raise borrowing costs further, minutes from their most recent policy meeting showed, boosting expectations the committee will stick to its hawkish stance on raising interest rates.
Spot gold was up 0.1 percent at $1,223.78 an ounce at 0403 GMT, hovering close to its highest since July 26 at 1,233.26 an ounce hit on Monday.
U.S. gold futures were flat at $1,226.90 an ounce.
"Gold is closely tracking both the U.S. dollar and equities, more so the dollar," said Peter Fung, head of dealing at Wing Fung Precious Metals in Hong Kong.
"Gold has traded largely in a $2 range today, with the dollar being stronger. Prices should hold here until they find some new trigger, when they can try again for an upside," he added.
The dollar index rose to a fresh one-week high against a basket of currencies on Thursday.
Asian stocks were capped with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan down 0.4 percent.
"Geopolitical and macroeconomic factors are still not indicating exuberance and risk appetite returning to markets with full throttle," said Religare Securities analyst Sugandha Sachdeva.
Trade war concerns, recent tensions between the United States and Saudi Arabia, and a hawkish Fed are among factors likely to weigh on appetite for riskier assets. This bodes well for gold as a hedge against market volatility and a portfolio diversifier, she added.
A bearish target zone of $1,208-$1,217 per ounce remains unchanged for spot gold, following its failure to break a strong resistance at $1,235, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.
Bullion was also testing resistance at the 100-day moving average of about $1,225. A convincing break above that is seen as a bullish sign for investors who follow technical signals.
"We remain neutral on gold here as we do not see the same bullish factors that were evident last week," INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir said in a note.
"The dollar seems to be rising again. While U.S. equity action, although mostly negative, is showing signs of stabilizing in that declines are being punctuated by more frequent counter cyclical rallies."
In other metals, silver dipped 0.1 percent to $14.59 per ounce, platinum was flat at $831.50 per ounce, and palladium was up 0.1 percent at $1,069.75.