Gold Up as Fed Minutes Keep to Expectations


Gold rose on Wednesday, holding above $1,320 an ounce, after the U.S. Federal Reserve's latest meeting minutes did not suggest any hike in U.S. interest rates soon.

Palladium jumped to a 13-1/2 year high for a second day, and platinum rallied too. The two autocatalyst metals were driven by a protracted South African mine strike, tensions in major producing nation Russia and surging car sales.

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The spot price of gold neared a one-week high as the world's largest gold exchange-traded fund, the New York-listed SPDR Gold Trust, reported a second straight session of inflows that took its holdings above 800 tonnes the first time since mid-April.

Spot gold was up 1 percent at $1,330 an ounce by 3:25 p.m. EDT (1925 GMT). U.S. gold futures' most-active contract , for delivery in August, settled up $7.80 an ounce at $1,324.30.

The gains came on anticipation that the Fed's June meeting minutes would not reveal any significant change in thinking on monetary policy, meaning the central bank was not ready to raise interest rates or hasten the rollback of stimulus measures.

"In that sense, the gold market got what it wanted," said Adam Sarhan at New York's Sarhan Capital. "There was some knee-jerk reaction that made the dollar go positive and gold give back some gains, but it was all too brief and too little."

The Fed may end its bond buying program after its October meeting if "certain economic conditions remain positive", the minutes said.

But the minutes also contained the central bank's oft-repeated stance that U.S. inflation was expected to remain over the next few years at below the Fed target of 2 percent.

The dollar fell to a near week-low against a basket of major currencies, bolstering gold's standing as a hedge.

The spot price of silver rose along with gold, gaining 0.8 percent to $21.17 an ounce.

The platinum metals group (PGM), which primarily serves the auto market, rallied.

Spot palladium was up 0.5 percent at $871.22 an ounce. During the session it hit $873.80 an ounce, its highest since February 2001.

Spot platinum was up 1.3 percent at $1,507 an ounce.

On Tuesday, holdings of palladium-backed ETFs hit a record 2.573 million ounces after a near 8,000-ounce inflow into the NewPalladium ETF operated in Johannesburg by Absa Capital.

Strong car sales in the United States and China have boosted demand from automakers for PGMs, used to purify emissions.

Tensions between major producer Russia and the West over Ukraine have stoked fears that PGM supply from the Crimean region may be constrained. A five-month miners' strike in South Africa prompted analysts to tighten forecasts for PGM supply.

(By Barani Krishnan and Jan Harvey; Editing by William Hardy, David Evans and David Gregorio; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)