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Gold flattens after July Fed minutes show need for more data

Gold
Source: World Gold Council

Gold steadied on Wednesday, after moving in both directions following the release of minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's July meeting, which showed the central bank's policymakers expected an interest rate hike soon but were still awaiting more data.

The minutes showed that members of the Fed's rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee were generally upbeat about the U.S. economy and labor market, but several said any slowdown in future hiring would argue against a near-term hike.

Spot gold was up 0.03 percent at $1,346.11 an ounce. It had fallen 0.6 percent to $1,337.22 immediately after the minutes were released and then risen 0.4 percent.

U.S. gold settled down 0.6 percent at $1,348.80 per ounce prior to the news.

"It just seems no one is convinced by these minutes that the Fed is going to move in September or that they're going to move off this dovish stance that they've been in," said Bill O'Neill, co-founder of LOGIC Advisors.

"There's not enough in there to convince people that the Fed is going to suddenly go into an aggressive mode that will allow a number of rate hikes. There's just so much uncertainty there."

The minutes came after two policymakers on Tuesday said the economic stars now appear to be aligning despite weak U.S. growth in the first half of 2016.

Gold is highly sensitive to rising rates, which lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion, while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced.

The U.S. dollar was flat against a basket of major currencies after gyrating in both directions following the minutes. U.S. stocks came off their lows, with some turning positive.

Gold prices typically move in the opposite direction of the dollar as a stronger greenback makes the metal more expensive for holders of other currencies, and vice versa.

Spot gold looks neutral in a range of $1,333.50-$1,358.01 per ounce, and an escape could suggest a direction, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.19 percent to 962.23 tonnes on Tuesday.

Silver fell 0.53 percent at $19.67 an ounce. Platinum was up 0.31 percent at $1,116, while palladium fell 0.8 percent at $694.50.