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Gold price nears 7-month peak on hopes of smaller Fed rate hikes

Federal Reserve Bank in lower financial district, Manhattan. Stock Image.

Gold extended its New Year rally to trade near a seven-month peak on Wednesday, helped by a weaker US dollar and growing expectations of less aggressive interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

Spot gold was up 1.0% to $1,858.97 per ounce by 11:40 a.m. EST, its highest since mid-June. US gold futures also gained 1.0% to $1,864.20 per ounce in New York.

[Click here for an interactive chart of gold prices]

The US dollar index, meanwhile, slipped 0.4%, making bullion less expensive for overseas investors.

There is some optimism in the market ahead of the release of minutes from the Fed’s December meeting later in the day, Kinesis Money external analyst Carlo Alberto De Casa told Reuters.

“Majority of investors are betting on a 0.25% rate hike in the next Fed meeting, differently from a few weeks ago, when another 0.50% rate was given as almost sure,” he added.

The minutes from the last Fed meeting, at which the US central bank raised rates by 50 basis points after four consecutive 75 basis point hikes, are due at 2 p.m. ET.

According to Daniela Hathorn, senior market analyst at Capital.com, there is still some reluctance from Fed members to give in to weaker economic data.

“Their decision to lower the pace of rate hikes might have more to do with a wait-and-see approach as they determine the impact of past rate hikes, rather than them being concerned about the recent worsening economic data, which would support rate cuts throughout 2023 and favour the precious metal,” she said.

Investors will also scan Wednesday’s US job openings data and the ISM manufacturing report at 10 a.m. ET to judge the health of the economy.

(With files from Reuters)