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BENGALURU: Gold edged further away from a record peak on Tuesday as it looks set to break nine straight sessions of gains ahead of critical US inflation data that could pave the way for imminent interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve.

Spot gold fell 0.5% to $2,171.59 per ounce as of 1207 GMT, trading below a record high of $2,194.99 it hit on Friday. US gold futures also dipped 0.5% to $2,177.50. “The markets are now on the sit-and-wait mode for the release of US inflation data later today in the hope of gathering further clues on what the Fed will do next,” said Ricardo Evangelista, senior analyst at ActivTrades.

The US consumer price index (CPI) report for February, due at 1230 GMT, is expected to rise 0.4% for the month and keep the annual pace steady at 3.1%.

The Fed is likely to cut its key interest rate in June, according to a strong majority of economists in the latest Reuters poll, as it waits for more data to confirm if inflation is headed toward its 2% target. Low interest rates help gold prices as they reduce the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

“The gold market seems to be surfing on a big wave of bullish sentiment, which might push prices even higher in the short term. That said, in the medium-to-longer term, we still see more downside than upside,” said Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke.

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