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Gold prices flitted in a narrow range on Thursday as cautious investors held to the sidelines and awaited key US inflation report to gauge the size of the Federal Reserve’s future interest rate hikes.

Spot gold was flat at $1,706.76 per ounce, as of 0220 GMT.

US gold futures fell 0.2% to $1,709.80.

The dollar index inched 0.1% lower.

A weaker dollar generally makes greenback-priced gold more attractive to other currency holders.

It looks like gold prices are consolidating ahead of the inflation data, said Brian Lan, managing director at Singapore-based dealer GoldSilver Central.

The US consumer price index (CPI) report for October is due at 1330 GMT. Economists expect core inflation to decline both on a monthly and annual basis.

Gold could rise if there are signs of cooling inflation, but if the numbers come higher, then there will be speculations of the Fed using a heavy hand again and thereby pressuring gold, Lan added.

Rising interest rates increase the opportunity cost of holding bullion, while lifting returns on other yielding assets.

Gold near 3-week peak

Traders now pricing in a 48.5% chance of a 50-basis-point rate hike and 51.5% chance of a 75 bps hike at the Fed’s December meeting.

Gold could consolidate around the $1,700 level, but if the strong dollar trade gains traction leading up to CPI, selling pressure could target the $1685 region, said Edward Moya, senior analyst with OANDA in a note.

Meanwhile, Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin said on Wednesday the Fed’s fight to lower inflation “may lead to a downturn” as the central bank’s interest rate increases are “challenged” by still-high consumer savings, still-tight labor markets and ongoing supply problems.

Spot silver rose 0.3% to $21.06. Platinum climbed 0.1% to $986.07, while palladium was down 0.1% at $1,862.62.

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