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Gold hovers near 2-week low as dollar dips, Fed meets

Key Points
  • Market watches Fed talks or clues on U.S. monetary policy

  • Gold has shed 3.6 percent since Sept 8

  • Palladium slides to lowest in a month


Gold was flat on Tuesday, barely budged from the prior session's two-week low, with trading lackluster as Federal Reserve policy makers headed into a two-day meeting that financial markets will watch for clues on the outlook for U.S. monetary tightening.

Trading volume was "slightly softer, which is generally to be expected ahead of the Fed," said Suki Cooper, precious metals analyst at Standard Chartered Bank in New York.

The dollar dipped slightly against a basket of currencies ahead of the Fed meeting. Analysts expect the Fed to issue a statement on Wednesday announcing that it will reduce bond purchases while leaving the door open to a U.S. interest rate hike in December.

"The dollar fell and then rose and that was basically a mirror image of today's gold market," said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategy at TD Securities in Toronto. A strengthening dollar makes gold less attractive to investors.

Gold is down 3.6 percent from Sept. 8, when it hit a one-year high of $1,357.54. On that day, the dollar hit its lowest level against a basket of currencies in more than 2½-years.

Cooper said Fed balance sheet reduction "has been widely telegraphed. At the moment we believe we'll see one more rate hike."

Spot gold was up 0.21 percent at $1,309.32 per ounce by 2:14 p.m. ET, off the previous day's low of $1,304.10.

U.S. gold futures for December delivery settled down $0.2, or 0.02 percent, at $1,310.6 per ounce.

What options traders are saying about gold

Worries over North Korea could still boost gold with safe-haven buying, analysts said. Markets were little changed on Tuesday after U.S. President Donald Trump addressed the United Nations General Assembly, vowing to "totally destroy" North Korea unless Pyongyang backs down from its nuclear challenge.

"My concern at the moment is that this gold rally has been led by short term tactical investors," Cooper said. Josh Graves, senior market strategist at RJO Futures in Chicago, noted that hedge funds and money managers have built a hefty net long position in gold. "I feel like unless there is some sort of spark to this market, you're going to see the funds start to unwind that net long position," he said.

Among other precious metals, silver was up 0.35 percent at $17.27 an ounce, while platinum fell 0.74 percent at $952.4 an ounce. Palladium was down 2.86 percent at $908.73 an ounce was down 2.1 percent at $916.14. Its session low of $908.97 an ounce was its lowest in a month.