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Gold takes a breather after record, Fed-fuelled rally

Gold eased slightly on Thursday, hitting pause after a blistering rally that got an extra fillip after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell hinted that the central bank was on course for three interest rate cuts in 2024.
Spot gold fell 0.3% to $2,180.49 per ounce at 1:50 p.m. EDT (1750 GMT) after hitting an all-time high of $2,222.39 earlier in the session.
U.S. gold futures settled 1.1% higher at $2,184.7.

Also driving gold’s correction, the dollar bounced back up 0.8%, after slipping to a one-week low, making bullion more expensive for overseas buyers.
“Overnight aggressive buying seems to have run out of steam and gold prices are correcting, given that rates markets have only marginally discounted the risk of more rate cuts for 2024,” said Daniel Ghali, commodity strategist at TD Securities.
Traders are now pricing in a 72% chance that the Fed will begin cutting rates in June, up from 65% before the rate decision.

Despite recent high inflation readings, Powell said the central bank is still likely to reduce interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point by end-2024.
“Gold is still one of our favorite trades for 2024 as an attractive portfolio hedge for equity investors,” BofA Research said in a note dated March 20, adding unprecedented central buying was another reason to be bullish on gold.
Lower interest rates on other assets boost the appeal of holding non-yielding bullion.

“The mood in the gold futures market is very bullish. So your hedge funds or any other short-term traders or trend followers are positioned for higher prices, and I think this is the segment that is in the driving seat while the physical gold market is rather soft,” said Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke.
Silver fell 3.2% to $24.80 per ounce, platinum gained 0.2% to $908.70 and palladium lost 1.4% to $1,007.48.