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Gold Holds below $1,900 after Rallying to 9-Month High

  • Overall direction for gold down after Ukraine crisis -analyst
  • Treasury yields edge higher after safe-haven bids stop
  • Money markets price in 36.5% chance of 50 bps Fed rate hike

Feb 23 (Reuters) - Gold steadied below the $1,900-level on Wednesday after hitting a nine-month high in the previous session due to the Ukraine crisis, with investors focusing on accelerating inflation and expected tightening of monetary policies by central banks.

Spot gold was little changed at $1,898.81 per ounce, as of 0424 GMT, after scaling its highest since June 1 at $1,913.89 per ounce in volatile trade on Tuesday. U.S. gold futures shed 0.3% to $1,901.00.

"The main catalyst here is the ebbing of that escalation risk that essentially we maybe have exhausted the worst of this crisis, at least in terms of fresh uncertainty," said Ilya Spivak, a currency strategist at DailyFX, while referring to the crisis between Russia and Ukraine.

The United States, the European Union and Britain announced plans to target banks and elites, while Germany halted a major gas pipeline project from Russia, which they say has amassed more than 150,000 troops near Ukraine's borders. Moscow has denied planning an invasion. 

U.S. Treasury yields edged higher on Tuesday as markets see rates heading higher, with the U.S. Federal Reserve expected to move in March.

Money markets are pricing in just a 36.5% probability of a 50 basis point rate hike next month, down recently from around 60%. FEDWATCH

Higher yields and interest rate hikes dent the appeal of bullion by raising the opportunity cost of holding non-interest paying gold.

"As the Fed continues to tighten and real rates continue to go up, markets don't move in straight lines, but the overall direction for gold after this Ukraine crisis ebbs is down," Spivak said while highlighting the technical outlook on the metal for the next six months.

Gold could go through $1,750 and test the $1,700/ounce level, Spivak said.

Spot silver gained 0.5% to $24.20 per ounce, platinum rose 0.3% to $1,078.99 and palladium was up 0.2% to $2,352.47.

Reporting by Asha Sistla in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V

Source: Reuters

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