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AMSTERDAM/ LONDON: Gold prices steadied near recent highs on Wednesday, underpinned by concerns over the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, while investors awaited minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting.

Spot gold was little changed at $1,783.91 per ounce by 1144 GMT, after hitting its highest since Aug. 6 at $1,795.25 in the previous session. US gold futures edged 0.1% lower to $1,785.60.

Worries over the fast-spreading Delta COVID-19 variant and its impact on the global economy have dented investors’ appetite for riskier assets.

“Since the flash crash last week, gold has benefited from some significant short covering,” Independent analyst Ross Norman said.

“It’s quite clear that the macro environment perhaps isn’t quite as rosy considering the rise in Delta variant cases, and evidence for that of course came out from the US retail sales data, which was a big miss.”

Investors are awaiting the minutes of the US central bank’s July policy meeting, due later in the day, for guidance on its tapering plans.

On Tuesday Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari said it could be “reasonable” to start tapering later this year, but that would depend on the progress in the labour market.

“We have Fed minutes today, but ultimately the focus is on the Jackson Hole symposium and the next non-farm payroll numbers, which will be very crucial for the market,” said Jigar Trivedi, commodities analyst at Mumbai-based broker Anand Rathi Shares.

“Amid all these things, because of the flight to safety due to rising COVID-19 numbers, sentiment is positive, but at the same time there is strict resistance around $1,800 for gold.”

Elsewhere, silver rose 0.1% to $23.66 per ounce, while platinum gained 0.4% to $1,001.02.

Palladium climbed 0.6% to $2,502.74, recovering from a near two-month low hit on Tuesday.

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