Gold prices were flat in early Asian trade on Thursday as investors digested minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting, while positioning for a raft of economic data that could influence the U.S. central bank’s policy trajectory.
* Spot gold was unchanged at $1,917.09 per ounce by 0022 GMT. U.S. gold futures shed 0.2% to $1,923.60.
* Minutes showed a united Fed agreed to hold interest rates steady at the June meeting as a way to buy time and assess whether further rate hikes would be needed.
* Federal Reserve Bank of New York President John Williams said on Wednesday it was the right move for the central bank to hold rates steady three weeks ago, while hinting at some point it may have to raise rates again.
* Investors still largely expect the central bank to raise rates at its meeting later this month.
* Gold is highly sensitive to rising U.S. interest rates, as they increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion. * Investors’ focus now shifts to the U.S. Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, and ADP, jobless claims on Thursday before Friday’s non-farm payrolls report.
* Indicative of sentiment, SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.44% to 917.86 tonnes on Wednesday from 921.90 tonnes on Monday.
* Traders also kept a close watch on updates about China’s export controls on semiconductor metals as it ramps up a tech fight with the United States ahead of U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen Beijing visit.
* Elsewhere, spot silver rose 0.2% to $23.1444 per ounce, while palladium fell 0.5% to $1,253.31. Platinum was flat at $915.43.
DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0830 UK All-Sector PMI June 1215 US ADP National Employment June 1230 US Initial Jobless Clm Weekly 1345 US S&P Global Comp, Svcs Final PMIs June 1400 US ISM N-Mfg PMI June 1400 US JOLTS Job Openings May