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Gold pares losses after Fed minutes

PROSPECTING GOLD
AP

Gold recovered some of its footing on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve minutes from its previous meeting showed a rate hike in December was likely.

Spot gold traded 0.33 percent higher at $1,291.70 per ounce while U.S. gold futures for December delivery traded off its lows at $1,294.30 per ounce.

"Consistent with the expectation that a gradual rise in the federal funds rate would be appropriate, many participants thought that another increase in the target range later this year was likely to be warranted if the medium-term outlook remained broadly unchanged," the meeting summary said.

Gold is highly sensitive to rising interest rates, as these increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion while boosting the dollar, in which the metal is priced.

The precious metal had traded mixed earlier on Wednesday after Catalonia's leader balked at making a formal declaration of independence from Spain, sending the euro higher and the dollar down.

"These concerns about the ramifications of the Catalan independence referendum are fading, giving some support to the euro and weakening the dollar," said Jens Pedersen, senior analyst at Danske Bank in Copenhagen.

Spot gold hit the highest level in nearly two weeks on Tuesday on the third straight day of gains.

The dollar index fell to the lowest in over a week, making dollar-priced gold cheaper for buyers using other currencies.

Before that, gold had been declining since early September after touching a 1-year high of $1,357.54.

The news about Catalonia together with more upbeat predictions for the global economy helped push world stocks to another record high.

"With equities at all-time highs, gold also looks attractive as a hedge, especially given the correlation between the two assets has remained in negative territory this year," Joni Teves, strategist at UBS in London, said in a note.

In other precious metals, silver rose 0.81 percent to $17.216 an ounce, having hit a three-week high in the previous session.

"Silver regained the $17 per troy ounce mark yesterday but then failed to exceed the technically important 200-day moving average," Commerzbank said in a note.

"Silver has outperformed gold in October so far. The gold/silver ratio has fallen from just shy of 77 at the beginning of the month to a good 75 at present."

Platinum rose 0.47 percent to $933.40 an ounce after hitting a two-week high of $934.50 and palladium climbed 2.68 percent to $958.50 an ounce, the highest since Sept. 13.