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Gold futures struggle below $1,100 ahead of FOMC statement

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Investing.com – Gold prices struggled below the $1,100-level on Wednesday, as market players awaited the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy statement due later in the session for fresh signals on the timing of a U.S. interest rate hike.

for December delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange inched down $1.80, or 0.16%, to trade at $1,094.90 a troy ounce during U.S. morning hours.

A day earlier, gold dipped 20 cents, or 0.02%, to close at $1,096.70. Futures fell to a five-and-a-half year low of $1,072.30 on July 24.

Also on the Comex, for September delivery shed 1.2 cents, or 0.08%, to trade at $14.63 a troy ounce.

All eyes on Wall Street will be on the Federal Reserve’s today, due at 2:00PM ET.

Fed officials are expected to provide further signals that the central bank could raise rates as soon as September if the economy continues to improve as expected.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen will not hold a press conference after the release and there will be no updated economic projections.

Gold has been under heavy selling pressure in recent months amid speculation the Fed will hikes rates for the first time in nine years this autumn.

Expectations of higher borrowing rates going forward is considered bearish for gold, as the precious metal struggles to compete with yield-bearing assets when rates are on the rise.

Elsewhere in metals trading, for September delivery tacked on 1.0 cent, or 0.43%, to trade at $2.413 a pound during morning hours in New York.

The took investors on another roller coaster ride on Wednesday, rising more than 1% after the open, only to turn negative after the midday break, and then rise again to end up 3.5%.

Some analysts attribute the strong finish to a rush of buying by government-backed funds in the final hour of trade.

Equity markets in China plunged sharply earlier this week, forcing policymakers to intervene and provide measures to boost liquidity and calm investors.

On Monday, the Shanghai Composite tumbled 8.5%, the biggest one-day drop since February 2007, amid reports that government buying of stocks and securities has slowed.

The Asian nation is the world’s largest copper consumer, accounting for almost 40% of world consumption last year.

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