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Gold inches down as investors digest mixed signals from Fed on rate hike

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Investing.com — inched down on Thursday amid a stronger dollar, as investors digested mixed signals from the Federal Reserve on the likelihood of a September interest rate hike.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold for December delivery traded in a broad range between $1,081.90 and $1,098.20 an ounce before settling at $1,089.10, down 4.20 or 0.38% on the session. Gold has remained relatively flat over the last four sessions after surging by more than 1% at the start of the week during its strongest one-day move in more than a month. It was preceded 10-day rout, the longest in nearly two decades, as the precious metal came under downward pressure from a crashing Chinese equities markets and mounting speculation that the Fed could raise interest rates in 2015.

On Wednesday, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) concluded its two-day July meeting without offering any indications on whether it will adjust its benchmark Federal Funds Rate later this fall. U.S. short-term interest rates have remained level between zero and 0.25% for nearly six years since the end of the Financial Crisis. Nearly a decade has passed since the Federal Reserve last instituted a rate hike.

In its July monetary policy statement, the FOMC said the labor market has shown signs of progressing, citing indicators that showed the underutilization of labor resources have diminished in recent months. Last month, the U.S. unemployment rate fell by 0.2% to 5.3%. In addition, the FOMC noted that it has observed signs that the U.S. economy has grown moderately during the second quarter of the year.

Gold, which is not attached to dividends or interest rates, struggles to compete with high-yield bearing assets in periods of rising rates.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) in a quarterly release on Thursday morning reported that U.S. GDP for the second quarter increased by 2.3%. The reading fell below high end of consensus estimates of a 3.5% increase, but was above the low end of forecasts for a gain of 1.9%. The BEA also upwardly revised first quarter GDP to a 0.6% increase from a prior reading of negative 0.2%.

The , which measures the strength of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, surged to an intraday high of 97.88, before falling back to 97.82 (up 0.60%) in U.S. afternoon trading.

Dollar-denominated commodities such as gold become more expensive for foreign purchasers when the dollar appreciates.

Elsewhere, the closed on Thursday down 83.44 points or 2.2% to 3,705.73, one day after halting a three-session, 11% romp. On Monday, Chinese stocks fell by 8.5% experiencing their worst session since 2007.

Silver for September delivery fell 0.008 or 0.05% to 14.735 an ounce.

Copper for September delivery dipped 0.029 or 1.19% to 2.378 a pound.

China is the world’s largest consumer of and second-largest consumer of gold, behind India.

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