Metals: Gold Extends Gains After Fed Decision

By Ira Iosebashvili Features Dow Jones Newswires

Gold prices rose Wednesday, as investors reacted to weaker-than-expected inflation data ahead of a Federal Reserve statement later in the session.

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Gold for February delivery was recently up 0.3% at $1,245.80 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Underlying inflation pressures gave signs of moderating last month, a Labor Department report showed Wednesday. Core prices rose 0.1%, a slowdown from the previous month's 0.2% increase. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected core prices to rise 0.2% on the month.

Weaker inflation data undercuts the case for the Federal Reserve to raise rates more aggressively next year. Expectations of a more dovish Fed tend to boost gold, which struggles to compete with yield-bearing investments when rates rise.

With many expecting the Fed to raise interest rates at the conclusion of its meeting this afternoon, investors will likely focus on the central bank's economic and rates projections for 2018.

Some market participants may be unwinding their bets on a lower gold price ahead of the statement, in case the central bank's message is less hawkish than expected, wrote George Gero, managing director at RBC Wealth Management, in a note to clients.

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In base metals, copper for March delivery was recently up 0.8% at $3.0455 a pound.

Write to Ira Iosebashvili at ira.iosebashvili@wsj.com

Gold prices extended gains in aftermarket trading Wednesday, as some investors saw a dovish tilt to the Federal Reserve's latest statement.

Gold for February delivery was recently up 1.4% to $1,259 a troy ounce in electronic trading. Prices closed at $1,248.60 a troy ounce in regular trading on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In a statement at the conclusion of its monetary policy meeting, the Fed said it would raise short-term interest rates for the third time this year, as widely expected, and remained on track for an equal number of increases in 2018.

However, "the statement in general was a bit less hawkish than expected, " said George Gero, managing director at RBC Wealth Management.

Two officials cast dissenting votes Wednesday because they wanted to hold rates steady, leading some investors to wonder whether lukewarm inflation will keep the central bank from raising rates as aggressively as expected next year.

"The whole world expected this quarter point hike, and two members voted against it," said Ira Epstein, of broker Linn & Associates. "I was a little surprised at that."

Gold struggles to compete with yield bearing investments when rates rise.

At the same time, some investors had expected the Fed to acknowledge the possibility of a more aggressive tightening path next year, as growth in the U.S. picks up, Mr. Gero said.

In base metals, copper for March delivery was up 1% at $3.0535 a pound.

Write to Ira Iosebashvili at ira.iosebashvili@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 13, 2017 15:32 ET (20:32 GMT)