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NEW YORK: Gold prices hit a one-month high on Wednesday as rising consumer prices boosted its appeal as an inflation hedge, while investors seemed to look past an impending interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve as well as a stronger dollar.

Spot gold rose 0.6% to $1,978.81 per ounce by 12:36 p.m. ET (1636 GMT), after touching its highest since March 14 at $1,979.95. US gold futures rose 0.3% to $1,982.6.

Gold seems to be “ignoring the stronger dollar and rising US rates and they seem to be singularly focused on inflation,” said Edward Meir, an analyst with ED&F Man Capital Markets.

Data showed on Tuesday that US monthly consumer prices surged in March, cementing the case for a 50 basis point interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve next month as it seeks to tackle inflation.

Gold is considered a hedge against inflation and geopolitical risks. However, rising US interest rates will raise the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion and boost the greenback in which it is priced.

Investors also boosted equities after a week-long slump amid optimism on strong growth stocks despite inflation forecasts.

The dollar index touched a two-year high during the session buoyed by hawkish comments by Fed officials.

“We’re importing inflation here,” said Daniel Pavilonis, senior market strategist at RJO Futures, adding there is “real scare of more inflation coming from the lack of exports, the lack of shipments and back orders and all the other shipping costs” due to the Ukraine crisis.

President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday peace talks with Ukraine had hit a dead end, in the strongest signal to date the war could grind on for longer.

Spot silver rose 1.4% to $25.71 per ounce, platinum gained 2.1% to $985.23 and palladium rose 0.3% to $2,331.88.

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