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Gold prices steady at 3-week lows as U.S. inflation increases


Investing.com-- Gold prices moved little in Asian trade on Thursday, steadying near three-week lows and remaining under pressure from the dollar as data showed a bigger-than-expected increase in U.S. inflation.

The yellow metal held its ground despite Wednesday’s strong reading on U.S. consumer inflation, as markets bet that the Federal Reserve will still keep rates on hold next week.

But whether gold prices could still hold the $1,900 an ounce level remained in question, given that U.S. interest rates are likely to remain higher for longer. The dollar also remained steady below a near six-month high, limiting any major gains in gold.

Diminished chances of a U.S. recession weighed on safe haven demand for the yellow metal, as recent data signaled continued resilience in the world’s largest economy.

U.S. producer inflation and retail sales data is due later on Thursday, and is expected to signal more resilience.

Spot gold rose 0.1% to $1,910.09 an ounce, while gold futures expiring in December fell 0.1% to $1,931.25 an ounce by 0:22 ET (04:22 GMT). Both instruments were close to their weakest levels since late-August.

Fed meeting, rate outlook in focus

The stronger consumer inflation reading comes just a week before a Federal Reserve meeting, where the central bank is widely expected to keep rates on hold.

But the bank could present a more hawkish outlook, especially with inflation back on the rise.

Markets also expect the Fed to keep interest rates at over 20-year highs until at least mid-2024, presenting a muted outlook for gold. The yellow metal was battered by rising interest rates over the past year.

Rising interest rates push up the opportunity cost of investing in non-yielding assets such as gold, keeping the yellow metal's appeal limited in comparison to the dollar or Treasuries.

Copper strengthens, more China cues awaited

Among industrial metals, copper prices rose 0.6% on Thursday, taking advantage of a weaker dollar, and as markets awaited more cues from the world’s largest copper importer this week.

Copper futures jumped 0.6% to $3.8045 a pound, recovering sharply from two straight days of losses. Futures were also trading up for the week as inflation and new loans data from China pointed to some signs of an economic recovery.

Focus is now on more cues from the country, with readings on industrial production and retail sales due on Friday.

While China's copper imports steadily declined this year, amid worsening economic conditions, copper bulls are betting that an economic recovery in the country will spur renewed appetite for the red metal.

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