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Gold scales over 3-month peak on hopes of Fed rate cut, softer dollar

Lower interest rates will support bullion as they reduce the opportunity cost of holding the non-yielding metal.


GOLD prices rose to a more than three-month high on Wednesday, after latest comments from US Fed officials lifted expectations of a cut in interest rate, pushing the dollar to a multi-week low.

Spot gold jumped 0.7 per cent to US$1,333.90 per ounce as at 0730 GMT, after clocking its highest level since Feb 21 at US$1,335.41 earlier in the session. US gold futures climbed 0.8 per cent to US$1,339.60 an ounce.

"After the announcement from Mr Trump on tariffs on Mexico, there doesn't seem to be an end (to trade woes). Markets are starting to come to grips with how these (trade conflicts) are going to slow down the global economy and not just the US economy," said David Song, analyst with DailyFx.

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Fed chair Jerome Powell said on Tuesday the central bank would act "as appropriate" in the face of trade war risks, leaving the door open for a possible rate cut.

Early in the week, St Louis Fed president James Bullard said that a rate cut "may be warranted soon".

"The focus will be on whether we will see global community of central bankers step in again and keep up the equity rally going ... But until then this flight to safety (assets) will continue," Mr Song added.

Economic data released shortly after Mr Powell's statement on Tuesday also stoked expectations for a rate cut, as new orders for US-made goods fell in April and shipments dropped by the most in two years.

Lower interest rates would support bullion as they reduce the opportunity cost of holding the non-yielding metal.

Supporting bullion's appeal, the dollar index dropped to a near seven week-low on possibility of an interest rate cut in the face of economic risks.

Gold prices have gained more than US$50 since Mr Trump's tariff threat on Mexico, with investors selling riskier assets and seeking refuge in safe-haven bullion.

The jump in gold prices also saw a 2.2 per cent rise in the holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund on Monday. It was SPDR's biggest one-day percentage gain since July 2016.

"We would lean to the long side in gold for the moment, as there simply are too many balls in the air that may not stay up for long and could send gold even higher from here if they tumble," INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir said in a note.

Among other precious metals, silver gained 0.2 per cent to US$14.84 per ounce after touching a near one-month high of US$14.88.

Platinum rose 1.4 per cent to US$826.62 per ounce, after hitting its highest level since May 20 at US$827.14. Palladium edged 0.1 per cent higher to US$1,347.45 per ounce. REUTERS