Gold prices turn slightly higher after Fed holds interest rates steady

Gold bars and coins.

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Gold prices edged higher for a second straight session on Thursday after the Federal Reserve indicated that it is still leaning toward eventual rate cuts, while investors’ focus pivoted toward the U.S. non-farm payrolls data.

Spot gold firmed 0.3% at $2,325.02 per ounce by 0218 GMT, after climbing over 1% in the previous session. U.S. gold futures rose 1% to $2,334.40.

The Fed left interest rates unchanged on Wednesday as expected. Its latest policy statement kept key elements of its economic assessment and policy guidance intact, framing its discussion of interest rates around the conditions under which borrowing costs can be lowered.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the next move would depend on the data but that there was unlikely to be an increase. Traders were relieved that Powell slammed the door shut for further hikes, helping gold prices climb back above $2,300, City Index senior analyst Matt Simpson said.

Following the meeting, U.S. short-term interest-rate futures rose, as traders added to bets that the Fed will deliver at least one rate cut this year. Lower interest rates increase the appeal of holding non-yielding bullion.

The U.S. non-farm payrolls report is due on Friday.

“What traders would love to see now is a softer set of NFP figures… We’re fast approaching the second half of the year, and in all the time central banks continue to pile into physical gold, I suspect gold can hold above $2,000 for the remainder of the year and break above $2,500,” Simpson added.

Spot silver rose 0.4% to $26.75 per ounce. Platinum gained 1% to $959.40 after hitting a two-week high earlier in the session. Palladium advanced 0.5% to $953.30.

Platinum’s discount to palladium has fluctuated year-to-date from -$200 to zero, indicating subdued investor interest and mixed views around global macro and individual fundamentals, analysts at MKS PAMP wrote in a note.

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