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Gold Extends Post-Fed Rally

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03/20/2017 | 01:02pm CEST
By Katherine Dunn 

LONDON--Gold prices rose to a two-week high on Monday, as a weaker dollar and expectations of gradual rate increases helped extend a rally for the precious metal.

Spot gold prices rose 0.30% at $1,232.70 a troy ounce in midmorning European trade, and the metal has risen about 2.8% since March 14.

Copper prices, meanwhile, pulled back 0.65% to $5,900 per metric ton despite ongoing supply concerns related to labor strikes in South America and an export license in Indonesia.

On Monday, the WSJ Dollar Index, which weighs the dollar against a basket of other currencies, was down 0.09%. A weaker dollar makes dollar-denominated commodities more affordable for investors who hold other currencies.

Last week's meeting by the Federal Reserve has also helped boost gold prices. While the central bank raised interest rates as expected, comments by Fed officials suggested future hikes will be gradual and the tone was dovish.

Future rate increases should keep a cap on the metal's gains, and the current rally is unlikely to turn into a full bull market, said David Govett, head of precious metals at Marex Spectron. However, "being long of gold is extremely sensible at the moment with Trump in the White House and French elections looming," he said.

The other precious metals were mixed. Silver was down 0.29% at $17.41 a troy ounce and platinum was up 0.13% at $966.25 a troy ounce. Palladium fell 0.20% to $775.25 a troy ounce.

Copper prices were falling Tuesday on the back of profit-taking, even as supply disruptions to copper mines in Chile, Peru and Indonesia have dragged on. However, despite fundamental disruptions, the macro picture and the strength of the dollar are likely to drive metals prices in the near term, J.P. Morgan said in a weekly note.

"A combination of a steady global economy and relatively stable [U.S. dollar] are supportive of industrial metals as an asset class in the near term, with fundamentals taking over increased pricing power in the second half of the year," the bank said.

Among the other base metals, aluminum was up 0.29% at $1,920 per ton, lead was up 0.11% at $2,295 per ton and tin was up 0.99% at $20,435 per ton. Zinc was down 0.52% at $2,877 per ton and nickel was down 0.83% at $10,180 per ton.

Write to Katherine Dunn at Katherine.Dunn@wsj.com

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