Gold gains on rate-cut hopes, Middle East tensions

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Gold prices edged higher on Wednesday, recovering from a one-week low touched in the previous session, on expectations of an interest rate cut by the US Federal Reserve and escalating tensions in the Middle East.

Spot gold was up 0.2 per cent at $1,420.40 per ounce as of 0128 GMT, after hitting its lowest since July 17 at $1,413.80 in the previous session.

US gold futures were steady at $1,420.80 an ounce.

Futures remain 100 per cent priced for a rate cut of 25 basis points (bps) by the Fed next week, and have even priced in an 18 per cent chance of a 50 bp cut.

The European Central Bank is expected to signal easier monetary policy at its meeting this week, while the Turkish central bank is expected to make a 250 bp cut on July 25.

A US Navy ship took defensive action against a second Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz last week, but did not see the drone go into the water, the US military said on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the dollar index edged up to a five-week high on Wednesday, following gains of nearly 0.5 per cent the previous day, while the euro slipped to a two-month low.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and senior US officials will travel to Shanghai on Monday for face-to-face trade meetings with Chinese officials, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing unnamed sources.

Asian shares nudged higher on Wednesday amid hints of progress in the Sino-US trade saga.

SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.25 per cent from Monday to 823.13 tonnes on Tuesday.