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Gold eases after strong rally, Fed eyes fewer rate hikes

Thursday, March 17, 2016 - 14:51

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Gold ticked lower on Thursday as the market took a breather after rallying 2.5 per cent in the previous session following the Federal Reserve's decision to cut the number of planned interest rate hikes, adding to pressure on the dollar.

[SINGAPORE] Gold ticked lower on Thursday as the market took a breather after rallying 2.5 per cent in the previous session following the Federal Reserve's decision to cut the number of planned interest rate hikes, adding to pressure on the dollar.

Gains in Asian stock markets and US crude oil futures took their toll on the precious metal's safe-haven appeal.

Spot gold had slid 0.3 per cent to US$1,258.25 an ounce by 0624 GMT, after notching up its biggest one-day rally in five weeks on Wednesday to a high of US$1,264 an ounce.

US gold jumped 2.4 per cent to US$1,259.5 an ounce, having settled down 0.1 per cent in the last session prior to the Fed statement. "The market jumped after the Fed meeting but there are a lot of people on the long side, so some sort of profit-taking is happening today," said Ronald Leung, chief dealer, Lee Cheong Gold Dealers, Hong Kong. "We will see how the market reacts in the overnight session. The upside seems to be capped at US$1,280 and downside limited at $1,225."

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Asian shares gained across the board as risk appetite revived after the Federal Reserve reduced the number of interest rate hikes expected this year, while the dollar nursed substantial losses.

The US central bank held interest rates steady after its two-day meeting, as expected.

However, fresh projections from policymakers showed they expected two quarter-point rate hikes by year's end.

Gold is highly sensitive to the prospect of rising rates, which lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion, while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced.

Volatility in equities and oil prices, a raft of mixed economic data, and concerns over global growth had curbed expectations for further hikes, allowing gold to rise more than 18 per cent this year.

Meanwhile, oil futures extended strong gains on Thursday, continuing to gather support after the world's biggest suppliers firmed up plans to meet to discuss an output freeze.

REUTERS

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