Futures & Commodities

Gold eases into tight range near $1,800 on taper uncertainty

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A one kilogram gold bar sits on top of silver bars at London bullion dealers Gold Investments in London, United Kingdom, on April 4, 2013.
Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Gold retreated on Wednesday, hit by a bout of technical selling after it failed to hold above the key $1,800 level as investors looked past a subdued dollar and sought clarity on the U.S. Federal Reserve's tapering strategy.

Spot gold fell 0.6% to $1,793.81 per ounce, while U.S. gold futures eased 0.6% to $1,796.00.

But spot prices traded within a tight range, reflecting overall uncertainty over the path the Fed may adopt at its meeting next week after softer U.S. inflation data on Tuesday.

A stronger-than-expected N.Y. Fed's manufacturing report for September earlier in the day fell "into the camp of the monetary policy hawks, which put a little pressure on the gold market," said Jim Wyckoff, senior analyst at Kitco Metals.

He added that improved risk sentiment was also weighing on bullion and that trading was likely to be choppy ahead of the Fed meeting.

Wall Street's main indexes were higher on Wednesday, with sectors such as energy and financials recovering some recent losses.

The yellow metal, however, got some support from a 0.1% fall in the dollar index.

While U.S. bond yields retraced from recent highs, "it has not been enough to attract the renewed demand for gold," Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen said.

"However, risk to the downside for gold is also limited since the slowdown in inflation thereby reduces the pace with which tapering can be carried out," Hansen said.

Platinum hit a more than nine-month low of $925.50 per ounce and was last down 0.3% at $936.28 per ounce.

Palladium gained 1.9% to $2,016.08, after falling to a more than one-year low on Tuesday. UBS earlier on Wednesday lowered its palladium price forecast to $2,000 per ounce.

Silver was down 0.3% at $23.77.