Gold prices

Gold Prices Flat at $1,840.24 Ahead of Fed Meeting

Gold prices were steady on Tuesday, as concerns about a faster pace of U.S. Federal Reserve policy tightening countered safe-haven demand fueled by escalating Ukraine tensions.

Spot gold was little changed at $1,840.24 per ounce by 0323 GMT. U.S. futures for the yellow metal were also steady at $1,840.70.

Key factors affecting gold prices are risk-off sentiment due to geopolitical tensions, rising Treasury yields on Fed tapering expectations and hedge funds reducing net long positions, said Michael Langford, director at corporate advisory AirGuide.

“Market does not know which way a potential conflict in Ukraine will affect global markets. There is a massive amount of speculation taking place and (I) expect gold prices to remain volatile in the short term,” Langford said.

NATO said on Monday it was putting forces on standby and reinforcing eastern Europe with more ships and fighter jets, in what Russia denounced as Western “hysteria” in response to its build-up of troops on the Ukraine border.

Investors are focused on the Fed’s two-day policy meeting starting later in the day, amid expectations the U.S. central bank will signal plans to raise rates by 25 basis points in March.

Gold is generally seen as an inflationary hedge, but it is highly sensitive to rising U.S. interest rates, which increase the opportunity cost of holding non-interest bearing bullion.

“The yellow metal could be trading more on near-term inflation dynamics as well as some skepticism about the potential for inflation to normalize as dramatically as markets imply over the long-term,” J.P. Morgan analysts said in a note.

Holdings of the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, rose to their highest since late August 2021 last Friday.

Spot silver fell 0.8% to $23.77 an ounce. Palladium shed 0.4% to $2,140.68 and platinum slipped 0.9% to $1,017.47.