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Gold Retains Haven Luster Despite Bullish Fed

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02/15/2017 | 11:42am CEST
By Katherine Dunn 

LONDON--Gold prices edged higher on Wednesday, as haven buying amid political uncertainty outweighed bullish signals on future rate increases from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Spot gold prices in London were up 0.16% at $1,227.40 a troy ounce in midmorning European trade.

Gold prices are a battle of "Janet vs. Donald," said Carsten Menke, a commodities analyst at Julius Baer.

On Tuesday, Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen suggested the Fed could raise rates as soon as March, reviving expectations that had been dampened after a tumultuous start to the year. That gave a boost to the dollar and pushed down gold prices late Wednesday, as the metal doesn't bear interest and struggles to compete when rates rise.

Meanwhile, gold has seen a revival of haven interest following the inauguration of President Donald Trump. Markets have rallied partly on expectations about upcoming tax cuts and infrastructure spending, but details of the economic plan remain thin, analysts say.

"The gold market remains torn between the outlook for rising interest rates in the United States and economic uncertainties related to President Trump's policies," said Mr. Menke.

Those jitters helped gold shake off a stronger dollar on Wednesday. The WSJ Dollar Index was up 0.15%. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was steady at 2.476% on Wednesday after rising on Tuesday.

These contrasting directions have held investors' attention, leaving little room for other trends to drive the gold market, including physical demand, said David Govett, head of precious metals at Marex Spectron.

"This my friends is the modern parable of the bullion market," Mr. Govett said in a morning note. "It is all about the dollar, it is all about the 10-year yields, it is all about Donald Trump and it is all about the Fed."

The other precious metals were mixed on Wednesday. Silver was down 0.08% at $17.88 per troy ounce, palladium was up 0.30% at $783.25 a troy ounce, and platinum was down 0.02% at $1,002 per troy ounce.

Christopher Whittall contributed to this article.

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

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