Gold steady as hawkish Fed stance offsets Omicron worries – Reuters

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Jan 6 (Reuters) – Gold prices were little changed on Thursday, as a surge in U.S. Treasury yields following hawkish meeting minutes released by the Federal Reserve offset the precious metal’s safe-haven demand amid rising cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was little changed at $1,810.59 per ounce by 0142 GMT. U.S. gold futures fell 0.8% to $1,810.00.

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* Fed officials said the “very tight” U.S. labour market might warrant raising rates sooner than expected, as well as reducing the bank’s overall asset holdings to tame high inflation, minutes of their Dec. 14-15 policy meeting showed. read more

* Benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yields rose to its strongest level since April 2021, while 30-year yields climbed to more than two-month highs. Higher yields raise the opportunity cost of holding gold.

* Some investors view gold as a hedge against higher inflation, but the metal is highly sensitive to rising U.S. interest rates which increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

* Futures on the federal funds rate on Wednesday have priced in a roughly 80% chance of a quarter-percentage-point rate hike by the Fed at its March meeting. read more

* Making gold less appealing for other currency holders, the dollar cut losses after the Fed minutes.

* The rolling seven-day average number of new COVID-19 cases in the United States hit 540,000, a new high for an eighth consecutive day on Tuesday. Hospitalisations of COVID-19 patients in the country have risen 45% in the past seven days and stand at over 111,000, a figure not seen since January 2021. read more

* Spot silver shed 0.1% to $22.75 an ounce, platinum fell 0.2% to $980.53, and palladium remained unchanged at $1,863.69.

DATA/EVENTS (GMT)

0700 Germany Industrial Orders MM Nov

0930 UK Reserve Assets Total Dec

1300 Germany CPI Prelim YY Dec

1300 Germany HICP Prelim YY Dec

1330 US International Trade Nov

1330 US Initial Jobless Clm Weekly

1500 US Factory Orders MM Nov

1500 US ISM Non-Mfg PMI Dec

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Reporting by Asha Sistla in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.