Futures & Commodities

Gold inches up on weaker dollar, stimulus hopes

A worker tends to gold bars at a precious metals plant.
Andrew Rudakov | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Gold prices gained for a fourth straight session on Wednesday, propelled by a softer dollar, while hopes a U.S. stimulus package will be passed bolstered the metal's appeal as an inflation hedge.

Platinum prices, meanwhile, hit their highest since February 2015 at $1,213.10 an ounce, and the auto-catalyst metal was last up 3.1% at $1,211.68 on expectations of a demand recovery.

Spot gold was up 0.2% to $1,840.96 per ounce. U.S. gold futures traded 0.4% higher at $1,844.9. The dollar slipped to a two-week low against rivals.

"Inflation fears are emerging, especially in the U.S.. With the stimulus intended to pass ... (fears are) that this would be too much and spark inflation going forward," said Quantitative Commodity Research analyst Peter Fertig.

The U.S. Congress is expected to pass a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill, with President Joe Biden saying he had been in touch with Republican leaders who opposed the size of the package.

Stimulus prospects were further aided by a budget outline approved by the Democrats last week allowing them to pass the package without Republican support.

Market participants await U.S. January Consumer Price Index data due at 1330 GMT and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's speech before a virtual Economic Club of New York event at 1900 GMT.

"U.S. inflation numbers are (a) key risk," said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at OANDA, adding a higher figure could cause a short-term spike in the U.S. dollar and push gold lower.

Elsewhere, platinum is profiting from developments in the car industry as demand for cars with diesel engines recovers after being hammered in the last five years due to Volkswagen's emissions scandal, Fertig said.

"Good automotive sales figures in China are certainly a factor supporting higher demand for platinum."

Spot silver gained 0.4% to $27.31 an ounce, while palladium climbed 0.8% to $2,337.16.