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BENGALURU: Gold prices fell below the key $2,000 per ounce level on Wednesday as the US dollar rebounded from lows and Treasury yields pared earlier losses, while expectations that the Federal Reserve will pause rate hikes capped further gains in bullion.

Spot gold was down 0.2% at $1,994.29 per ounce as of 10:43 a.m. ET (1543 GMT).US gold futures fell 0.3% to $1,996.40.

“The dollar index has rallied to its daily highs and that’s limiting some buying interest in gold,” said Jim Wyckoff, senior analyst at Kitco Metals, adding that conflicting market forces right now are making for a steady holiday-type trade right now.

The dollar index jumped 0.6% against its rivals, while Treasury yields pared early losses after rather strong initial jobless claims data unsettled a market that expects the Federal Reserve to start cutting interest rates around June next year as the US economy slows. Lower interest rates typically boost gold prices as they reduce the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets.

Bullion scaled a three-week high of $2,007.29 in the previous session. “The increase in the markets expectations for Fed cutting cycle to commence earlier in 2024 has been the prime force driving gold prices higher over the last week,” said Daniel Ghali, commodity strategist at TD Securities.

Fed officials agreed at their last policy meeting that they would proceed “carefully” and only raise interest rates if progress in controlling inflation faltered, minutes of the Oct. 31-Nov. 1 gathering showed.

In other metals, spot silver fell 0.6% to $23.60 per ounce, while platinum fell 1.3% to $921.87. Palladium slipped 2.2% to $1,054.10.

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