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PRECIOUS-Gold choppy after Fed signals on track for 2015 rate hikes
December 17, 2014 / 10:37 AM / 3 years ago

PRECIOUS-Gold choppy after Fed signals on track for 2015 rate hikes

* Gold steadies after choppy session on Tuesday

* Biggest gold ETF reports second straight daily outflow (Updates prices; adds comment, Fed announcement)

By Marcy Nicholson and Jan Harvey

NEW YORK/LONDON, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Gold turned lower on Wednesday, after briefly climbing above $1,200 per ounce following the U.S. Federal Reserve’s signal that it remained on track to raise interest rates in 2015.

The Fed offered a strong message that it was on track to raise interest rates sometime next year, altering a pledge to keep them near zero for a “considerable time” in a show of confidence in the U.S. economy.

Spot gold was down 0.4 percent at $1,191.45 by 2:46 p.m. EST (1946 GMT). On Tuesday, the metal’s trading was volatile, hitting a session high above $1,221 then a one-week low of $1,188.41 before ending marginally firmer.

“It’s open to a lot of interpretation as far as gold is concerned,” said James Steel, chief metals analyst for HSBC Securities in New York, referring to the Fed’s statement.

“I think the gold market will probably look to the foreign exchange markets and if the dollar rally is running into headwinds, we get a slightly stronger euro out of this and then that’s positive for gold.”

Investors were also eyeing Russia after the rouble plunged more than 11 percent against the dollar on Tuesday despite a hefty interest rate hike.

U.S. gold for February delivery inched up 0.02 percent to settle at $1,194.50 an ounce.

Russia’s financial crisis initially weighed on stocks on Wednesday, but European shares staged a late recovery following the bounce higher in energy and as new signs of economic stimulus measures from the European Central Bank lifted shares.

Barnabas Gan, analyst at OCBC Bank, said the market was watching whether Russia would sell its gold holdings to finance spending: “If that happens, we would see gold taking another step down, possibly closer to our year-end forecast of $1,150.”

Demand for physical gold in Asia was lackluster overnight as traders awaited direction from the Fed, precious metals house MKS said in a note.

Holdings of the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, which last week posted their biggest weekly rise since mid-July, saw a second consecutive daily outflow on Tuesday, of 1.8 tonnes.

Other precious metals were mixed with spot silver climbing 0.8 percent to $15.79 an ounce and platinum up 0.04 percent at $1,189.32 an ounce. Palladium was down 0.7 percent at $773.20 an ounce. (Additional reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr. in Singapore; Editing by Dale Hudson, David Evans, David Clarke and Chizu Nomiyama)

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