Gold prices up; focus on pick for US Fed chair – CNBC

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Gold prices held onto gains early on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged on Wednesday, and as investors awaited an announcement on a new chair for the central bank later in the day.

Spot gold was up 0.3 percent to $1,277.76 per ounce at 0047 GMT.

U.S. gold futures for December delivery edged up 0.1 percent to $1,278.60.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was down 0.2 percent to 94.645.

The Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged on Wednesday and pointed to solid U.S. economic growth and a strengthening labor market while playing down the impact of recent hurricanes, a sign it is on track to lift borrowing costs again in December.

Asian shares advanced after the Fed expressed optimism about the economy, virtually cementing the case for a year-end rate hike as investors awaited the formal nomination of the next head of the central bank.

U.S. President Donald Trump plans to nominate current Fed Governor Jerome Powell as the next chair of the U.S. central bank, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

Rising expectations that President Trump will tap Powell, who is seen as more dovish on interest rates, have pressured U.S. Treasury yields and the dollar this week.

The U.S. economy unexpectedly maintained a brisk pace of growth in the third quarter as an increase in inventory investment and a smaller trade deficit offset a hurricane-related slowdown in consumer spending and a decline in construction.

Traders also awaited Donald Trump’s tax plan, which Republicans plan to release Thursday morning.

Holdings of the SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.14 percent to 849.59 tonnes on Wednesday.

The Perth Mint’s sales of gold products fell 3.87 percent in October from a month earlier, while silver sales rose about 43 percent, the mint said in a blog post on its website on Wednesday.

South African precious metals producer Sibanye-Stillwater confirmed on Wednesday that it had laid off more than2,000 gold miners as it shuts its loss-making Cooke shafts where illegal mining syndicates have plagued its operations.