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PRECIOUS-Gold heads for first weekly gain in three as Fed hurts dollar
March 17, 2017 / 11:29 AM / 4 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold heads for first weekly gain in three as Fed hurts dollar

3 Min Read

    * Gold prices on track for 2.1 percent rise this week
    * Dollar at five-week low after Fed rate decision

 (Updates prices; adds comment, second byline, NEW YORK
dateline)
    By Marcy Nicholson and Peter Hobson
    NEW YORK/LONDON, March 17 (Reuters) - Gold rose on Friday
and was on course for its first weekly gain in three as the U.S.
Federal Reserve's cautious message on interest rates left the
dollar        around five-week lows, making bullion cheaper
those holding other currencies.
    The Fed raised U.S. rates on Wednesday, as expected, but its
earlier forecast of three rate increases this year remained
unchanged, disappointing some investors who had hoped for hints
of a possible fourth hike in 2017.                          
    Spot gold        was up 0.2 percent at $1,229.40 an ounce by
2:53 p.m. EDT (1853 GMT), taking this week's gain so far to 2.1
percent. Prices hovered just below the Thursday session high,
when the metal reached $1,233.13, its highest since March 6.
    It rallied 2.3 percent on Wednesday and Thursday following
the Fed's statement.
    "Everything's quieted down today. The surge we've seen in
the last couple of days has been correlated with what we've seen
in bonds and stocks," said Rob Haworth, senior investment
strategist for U.S. Bank Wealth management in Seattle.
    "On the retail side, you're making enough money on stocks
that you're probably not as worried about jumping back into
gold."
    U.S. gold futures         settled up 0.3 percent at
$1,230.20. 
    "There is momentum as people start to look again how far
they can push gold higher," said Georgette Boele at ABN AMRO.
    The dollar had hit a ceiling and would fall further in the
near term, she said.
    U.S. President Donald Trump's failure so far to push through
promised economic stimulus measures may have influenced the Fed,
said Tom Kendall at ICBC Standard Bank.
    "If infrastructure spending and tax cuts are being pushed
further and further out, it gives the Fed more reason to be
cautious," he said. "That is a bit of a vacuum that gold can
rally into." 
    Rate rises lead to higher bond yields, which increase the
opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion and tend to
boost the dollar, in which gold is priced.
    Investors were also looking ahead to the Group of 20 (G20)
finance leaders' meeting in Germany this weekend, where any
attempt by the Trump administration to pursue protectionist
policies could fuel demand for gold as a safe-haven. 
                        
    Holdings of the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded
fund, New York-listed SPDR Gold Shares      , fell 0.28 percent
on Thursday, the first outflow this week.             
    Silver        was up 0.5 percent at $17.37 an ounce, while
platinum        gained 0.3 percent to $956.20. Palladium       
advanced 1.7 percent to $776.90, after rising to $779.30, it
highest since March 1.

 (Additional reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru;
Editing by David Goodman and Nick Zieminski)
  

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