Gold flat after sharp declines on U.S. data

Gold prices were little changed in early Asian trade on Tuesday, after falling more than 1.5% in the previous session as the U.S. dollar rebounded on bets that strong economic data may prompt bigger interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was flat at $1,768.61 per ounce, as of 0011 GMT. Bullion hit a five-month high on Monday before closing 1.6% lower in its biggest daily drop since Sept. 23.

* U.S. gold futures were little changed at $1,780.90.

* The dollar index rebounded on Monday after data showed U.S. services industry activity unexpectedly picked up in November, prompting speculation the Fed may lift interest rates more than recently projected.

* Higher interest rates tend to weigh on gold’s appeal as they increase the opportunity cost of holding the non-yielding metal.

* Meanwhile, the European Central Bank is likely to raise interest rates by 50 basis points next week, governing council member Gabriel Makhlouf said on Monday.

* SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.2% to 903.46 tonnes on Monday.

* Top bullion consumer China is set to announce a further easing of some of the world’s toughest COVID curbs as early as Wednesday, sources said, as investors cheered the prospect of a policy shift that follows widespread protests and mounting economic damage.

* Spot silver inched 0.1% lower to $22.23, platinum was flat at $997.84 and palladium rose 0.2% to $1,878.93.

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