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Gold rises on Fed caution, palladium hits 16-year peak

  • Gold is sensitive to rising interest rates because they push up bond yields, raising the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion, and tend to strengthen the dollar, in which gold is priced.
  • Palladium touched $929.50, the highest since February 2001.
PROSPECTING GOLD
AP

Gold rose for a second day on Thursday after Federal Reserve officials hinted that U.S. interest rates could rise more slowly than expected, while palladium was lifted to a 16-year high by strong industrial metals markets.

The minutes of the Fed's July 25-26 policy meeting showed some policymakers wished to halt further rate increases until it is clear the trend of soft inflation is transitory.

Gold is sensitive to rising interest rates because they push up bond yields, raising the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion, and tend to strengthen the dollar, in which gold is priced.

The dollar and bond yields fell after the minutes were released but have recouped some losses.

Spot gold rose 0.30 percent at $1,286.51 an ounce after rising 0.9 percent Wednesday.

U.S. gold futures for December delivery settled up $9.50 at $1,292.40 an ounce.

Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch said U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to disband two high-profile business advisory councils also helped gold because it shook confidence
in Trump's ability to enact economic stimulus, lowering expectations of rate rises.

Demand for gold as a safe haven also resurfaced after South Korea warned North Korea against "crossing a red line" and the United States said it would go ahead with joint military drills
despite pressure from China, Fritsch said.

"Gold is likely to breach USD 1,300/oz as the market prices in a less hawkish Fed, particularly in a risk-off environment," analysts at Standard Chartered said in a note. But Fritsch said gold would struggle to rise above $1,295 after failing three times this year.

"Speculative long positions are at quite high levels," he said. "If we fail again here this could provoke a correction."

Gold has been supported by physical buying, with holdings in the largest gold-backed exchange-traded-fund, New York's SPDR Gold Trust, 275,663 ounces, or 1.1 percent, higher on Wednesday
than Friday's levels.

Technical resistance was at the June high of $1,296.30 with Fibonacci support at $1,261.30, said analysts at ScotiaMocatta.

Palladium gained 0.99 percent to $923.05 an ounce after touching $929.50, the highest since February 2001.

The metal, used in the auto industry for emissions-controlling catalytic converters, was being carried higher by a strong rally in industrial metals such as copper and aluminium this week, said Dominic Schnider at UBS Wealth Management in Hong Kong.

Silver dropped 0.23 percent to $17.04 an ounce and platinum was up 0.10 percent at $975.50 an ounce.