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Gold prices edged up on Monday as drawn-out discussions around the US debt ceiling and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s less-hawkish comments added to the safe-haven bullion’s appeal.

Spot gold was up 0.1% at $1,978.06 per ounce as of 0347 GMT, while US gold futures eased 0.1% to $1,979.40.

“Concerns over the debt ceiling remain to be a key pillar of support for gold prices, with $2,000 providing a spring board for dip buyers on Friday as talks rolled over for another week,” said Matt Simpson, a senior market analyst at City Index.

US President Joe Biden and House Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy will meet to discuss the debt ceiling on Monday, which will be closely watched to see if a resolution is reached in the standoff after negotiations broke off on Friday.

Gold prices gained 1% on Friday after Fed Chair Powell said it is still unclear if US interest rates will need to rise further, amid uncertainty about the impact of past hikes and recent bank credit tightening with the fact that inflation is proving hard to control.

Shares of US regional lenders fell on Friday after CNN reported that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told bank chief executives that more mergers may be necessary following a series of bank failures.

Non-interest-bearing bullion tends to become less attractive in a high-interest-rate environment.

Markets are now pricing in a 86.2% chance of the Fed standing pat on rates next month, the CME FedWatch tool showed.

But “gold is taking more of a cue from debt ceiling developments (or lack of) over the Fed meeting, because a US default could occur before the Fed next meet, and it would surely have an impact on the Fed’s decision,” City Index’s Simpson said.

Gold, silver prices down

The dollar index slipped 0.2%, making gold more affordable for overseas buyers. Spot silver fell 0.2% to $23.77 per ounce, platinum eased 0.1% to $1,061.68 and palladium dipped 0.3% to $1,508.54.

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