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Gold uptick continues Federal Reserve meeting

Gold bars
Akos Stiller | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Gold extended its climb above $1,330 an ounce on Wednesday after the U.S. Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged as expected and the dollar pared gains against a basket of major currencies.

The U.S. central bank said in a statement following its two-day meeting that near-term risks to the U.S. economic outlook had diminished, opening the door to a resumption of monetary policy tightening this year.

Spot gold was up 1.45 percent at $1,339.17 an ounce. U.S. gold futures for August delivery settled up 0.45 percent at $1,326.70.

"Gold has defied the marginally hawkish tone of the FOMC statement turning higher and pushing for a close above $1,335, which could prophesy the return of bullish sentiment," said Tai Wong, director of base and precious metals trading for BMO Capital Markets in New York.

Gold is particularly sensitive to rising U.S. rates, which would lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion, while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced.

The dollar, which was buoyed earlier by reports of a larger than previously expected fiscal stimulus plan for Japan that knocked the yen lower, gave back its gains against a basket of currencies.

"Our economists are expecting a rate hike in December, but if the Fed starts to sound hawkish now, that could weigh on gold," UBS analyst Joni Teves said before the statement was released. "There are downside risks here."

Uncertainty over the path of U.S. rates has eroded nearly 50 percent of the gains gold has made since UK voters shocked global markets last month by voting to leave the European Union.

"Gold's insurance benefits come at a price on these levels," Julius Baer said in a research note. "While Brexit-related uncertainty should be supportive for prices in the short term, the market appears too complacent with U.S. monetary policy."

Holdings of the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, have seen an outflow of nearly 28 tonnes in the last three weeks.

Among other precious metals, spot platinum surged 3.67 percent at $1,132.30, after hitting the highest in nearly 14 months, extending gains after the Fed statement.

Spot palladium has risen every day this week, following five straight weeks of gains. On Wednesday, it climbed to a 9-1/2-month high, firming by as much as 2.36 percent at $703.20.

Silver spot prices were up 3.73 percent at $20.35 an ounce.