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Gold sprints to over 5-year peak after Federal Reserve hints at rate cuts

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Gold prices surged as much as 1.8 per cent to their highest in more than five years on Thursday after the US Federal Reserve signalled possible interest rate cuts later this year, sending the dollar and US Treasury yields lower.

[BENGALURU] Gold prices surged as much as 1.8 per cent to their highest in more than five years on Thursday after the US Federal Reserve signalled possible interest rate cuts later this year, sending the dollar and US Treasury yields lower.

Spot gold jumped 1.4 per cent to US$1,378.70 per ounce as of 0252 GMT, after hitting its highest since March 17, 2014 at US$1,383.81.

US gold futures surged 2.5 per cent to US$1,382.70 an ounce.

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday said it was ready to battle growing global and domestic economic risks with interest rate cuts beginning as early as next month, as it took stock of rising trade tensions and growing concerns about weak inflation.

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Lower interest rates decrease the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion and weigh on the dollar, making gold cheaper for investors holding other currencies.

"The weakness in the dollar seen due to the rate cut expectations and a lot of short covering due to the sudden jump in prices are behind the sharp move," said Benjamin Lu, analyst, Phillip Futures, adding that some of the weaker stop losses were taken out.

"With this move, the target for gold investors has moved to US$1,400 and the key is to sustain this momentum for this week. On the longer term, it is going to be difficult to stay above US$1,400 as with better conditions for riskier assets due to rate cuts, investors might move to equities."

Even as the US central bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged for now, the shift in sentiment since its last policy meeting weighed on the dollar and US Treasury yields.

"Gold has taken a nice leg up" on the back of falling yields and dollar, said Chris Weston, head of research at Melbourne-based foreign exchange brokerage Pepperstone.

"The question now is if there is going to be a 50 basis points cut in July, which could take gold into US$1,400."

Meanwhile, gold priced in Australian dollars surfaced above A$2000 for the first time, hitting a record high of A$2005.23.

"It is a completely momentum trade out here ... There is a big emotional situation out here with gold trading at multi-year highs, which brings the fear of missing (factor). Gold is rallying in every currency and that for me is a truly bullish market," Mr Weston added.

Other precious metals also rise, with silver gaining 0.5 per cent to US$15.24 per ounce, its highest in more than two months, while platinum rose 0.5 per cent to US$814.64 per ounce.

Palladium climbed 0.4 per cent to US$1,505.75 per ounce, its highest in 12 weeks.

REUTERS