PRECIOUS-Gold ekes out gains in thin trade as U.S. yields slip

BY Reuters | TREASURY | 12/28/22 10:34 PM EST


U.S. jobless claim data due at 1330 GMT


Gold has already priced in rate hikes -analyst

(Updates prices)

By Ashitha Shivaprasad

Dec 29 (Reuters) - Gold prices inched up on Thursday due to a slight pullback in the U.S. Treasury yields, although bullion stuck in a tight range with market participants awaiting new indications on the Federal Reserve's rate hike plans.

Spot gold was up 0.1% at $1,805.26 per ounce as of 0754 GMT, after dropping 1% in the last session. U.S. gold futures fell 0.2% to $1,813.00.

Benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yields eased after hitting a six-week high in the previous session.

Traders will scan the weekly U.S. jobless claim numbers due at 1330 GMT, for their likely influence on the Fed's rate-hike strategy.

"Jobless data will be important. If it shows an increase in claims, then it should weaken dollar and support gold," said Ajay Kedia, director at Kedia Commodities, Mumbai.

The bullion was under pressure for most part of this year, buffeted by rapid rate-hikes from major central banks.

However, prices have risen nearly $200 from a more than two-year low hit in September on hopes the U.S. central bank might slow its pace of interest rate hikes.

The Fed raised interest rates by only 50 basis points (bps) in December after four consecutive increases of 75 bps each, while Fed Chair Jerome Powell has emphasized the need to keep rates elevated for a time to fight inflation.

Higher rates dim gold's anti-inflationary appeal and raise the opportunity cost of holding the asset since it pays no interest.

Meanwhile, the dollar rose 0.1% against its rivals, making gold more expensive for other currency holders.

"In 2022, gold has already priced in the rate hikes. In 2023, gold will be well supported by geopolitical tensions, recession woes and central bank buying," added Kedia.

"Gold ETFs (exchange traded funds) are also starting to rise."

Spot silver gained 0.1% to $23.55, platinum fell 0.2% to $1,006.01 and palladium was down 0.2% at $1,781.09. (Reporting by Ashitha Shivaprasad in Bengaluru; Editing by Uttaresh.V and Krishna Chandra Eluri)

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