(March 23): Gold prices advanced on Thursday (March 23), as the dollar slipped after the US Federal Reserve hinted it was nearing a pause in its rate-hike cycle, making the safe-haven asset a more attractive bet.
Spot gold was up 0.5% at US$1,978.93 per ounce, as of 0703 GMT. US gold futures gained 1.6% to US$1,981.40.
Traditionally considered a hedge against inflation and economic uncertainties, gold jumped 2% on Wednesday after the Fed raised interest rates by an expected 25 basis points, and indicated it might pause further increases after the recent collapse of two US banks.
The dollar fell 0.3%, making bullion cheaper for overseas buyers.
But "much of what we heard from (Fed) Chair (Jerome) Powell really was focused on the Fed being in inflation-fighting mode.... he made very clear that rate cuts are not on their horizon this year," said Ilya Spivak, head of global macro at Tastylive.
Fed policymakers pointed to just one more rate hike this year, but less easing next year than most thought would be appropriate just three months ago.
Powell in his press conference cautioned that the Fed would do "enough" to bring inflation down to 2%, and raise rates higher if it needed to.
"The devil was in the language details and Powell's presser," said Nicky Shiels, head of metals strategy at MKS PAMP SA.
"With more financial and economic uncertainty and less Fed hikes, sidelined precious metals investors will reengage."
Gold prices have risen more than 8% so far this month on concerns surrounding the banking and financial industry.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told lawmakers on Wednesday that she had not considered or discussed "blanket insurance" to US banking deposits without approval by Congress.
Gold might rise into a range of US$1,992-US$2,009 per ounce, as it has recovered strongly from Wednesday's low of US$1,934.19, Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao said.
Spot silver slipped 0.3% to US$22.96 per ounce, platinum added 0.9% at US$986.45, and palladium lost 0.3% to US$1,446.05.