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Gold Prices Hold at 10-Month Highs; Markets Await Fed Minutes



Gold prices held at 10-month highs on February 20, supported by global slowdown concerns and a weaker dollar, with markets eyeing the release of the US Federal Reserve’s policy meeting minutes later in the session.


Spot gold was marginally lower at $1,339.61 per ounce as of 0021 GMT, having touched $1,341.78 per ounce in the previous session, its highest level since April 20. US gold futures dipped 0.2 percent to $1,342.6 an ounce. Palladium rose 0.3 percent to $1,484.00 per ounce, within striking distance of $1,500 after it hit a record $1,485.50 on February 19 on concerns about a sharp supply deficit.

The dollar index versus a basket of six major currencies was lower at 96.495 on increasing optimism for a breakthrough in the trade talks, bolstering appeal for gold. US President Donald Trump said on February 19 that trade talks with China were going well and suggested he was open to pushing off the deadline to complete negotiations, saying March 1 was not a “magical” date.

US Federal Open Market Committee will release the minutes from its January 29-30 policy meeting at 1900 GMT. Meanwhile, Trump said on February 19 he wants North Korea to end its nuclear program, but has no pressing time schedule for this, as he dispatched his special envoy to finalise preparations for a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next week.

British Prime Minister Theresa May will meet top EU official Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels on February 20, pressing on with efforts to find a way to get their Brexit deal through Britain’s parliament. SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.07 percent to 792.45 tonnes on February 19 from 793.03 tonnes on February 15.

South Africa’s AngloGold Ashanti said it was putting its interests in an Argentine mine up for sale as it looks to focus on operations with a longer shelf life and ability to deliver higher returns. South Africa’s Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) called on its members at Sibanye-Stillwater’s platinum operations to embark on a secondary strike over job cuts and wages.

Peru on February 19 launched a new, “sustained” effort to uproot illegal gold mining in one of the Amazon’s most biodiverse corners, sending 1,500 police and military officers to the region after deforestation from wildcat mining hit a new high last year.

Courtesy: Reuters (Image credits: Pixabay)

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