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Spot gold pares losses after Fed minutes; futures end lower

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Spot gold pared earlier losses on Wednesday after the minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting showed the central bank struggled over how to convey to investors how fast it will raise short-term interest rates once it increases them from record lows.

The Fed held a previously unannounced March 4 videoconference to debate the issue in advance of its regular March 18-19 meeting.

Spot gold was last at $1,312 an ounce, up 0.3 percent and off an earlier high of $1,314 an ounce. U.S. gold futures for June delivery settled $3.20 lower at $1,305.50 an ounce ahead of the Fed announcement,

Worries over Ukraine, as well as technical momentum after a break above $1,300, helped lift gold nearly 1 percent on Tuesday, but uncertainty over U.S. monetary policy and weak physical and investment appetite curbed that rally.

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
Volume
GOLD
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GOLD/USD
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SILV/USD
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SILVER
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PALL/USD
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PLAT/USD
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"We're still struggling with the upside in thin trading amid a lack of physical buying or any significant investor interest," Andrey Kryuchenkov, an analyst at VTB Capital, said.

"We had opportunistic longs entering on a rebound off $1,280 with some short covering, but in the long run there is very little agenda for the bulls," he said. "Investors will look elsewhere should developed economies continue to recover."

Read MoreUkraine: Russia and NATO's war of words escalates

European shares drew investment, meanwhile, rising more than half a percent after a difficult few days in which tensions escalated in Ukraine and the European Central Bank curbed expectations of a new mass asset-buying program.

The dollar index was last down 0.2 percent, having earlier rebounded against the Japanese yen after its biggest fall in more than seven months.

—By Reuters. CNBC and AP contributed to this report.

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