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LONDON: Gold prices slid to a one-week low on Thursday as minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s December meeting signalled quicker increases to interest rates, boosting the dollar and Treasury yields.

Spot gold fell 0.6% to $1,798.36 per ounce by 1223 GMT, having touched its lowest since Dec. 29 at $1,792.30. U.S. gold futures fell 1.4 % to $1,799.40.

The “very hawkish” Fed minutes sent the dollar and the yields significantly higher, which has not helped gold, said independent analyst Ross Norman.

The U.S. dollar resumed its climb towards a recent 14-month high while benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yields rose to their strongest since April 2021.

The Fed minutes released on Wednesday showed that officials had discussed shrinking the U.S. central bank’s overall asset holdings as well as raising interest rates sooner than expected to fight inflation, with an 80% chance of a quarter of a percentage point increase plausible in March.

Some investors view gold as a hedge against higher inflation, but the metal is highly sensitive to rising U.S. interest rates, which increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

Investors now await the U.S. non-farm payrolls report due on Friday.

The ADP National Employment report showed U.S. private payrolls increased more than expected in December, pointing to underlying labor market strength, but skyrocketing COVID-19 infections could slow momentum in the months ahead.

“Despite the rise in the number of new COVID-19 cases, a scenario that normally would support the precious metal due to its safe haven appeal, gold is facing the headwinds generated by a strong dollar,” said Ricardo Evangelista, senior analyst at ActivTrades, in a note.

In other metals, spot silver dropped 2.3% to $22.26 an ounce after dropping to $22.12, its lowest since Dec. 16.

Platinum fell 1% to $972.58 and palladium rose 0.7% to $1,876.90.—Reuters

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