Gold firms as investors seek taper cues from Powell's testimony

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By Brijesh Patel

(Reuters) – Gold prices rose on Wednesday after robust U.S. inflation numbers lifted the metal’s appeal as an inflation hedge, although gains were kept in check ahead of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s testimony as early tapering bets rise.

Spot gold was up 0.4% at $1,814.90 per ounce, as of 1030 GMT. U.S. gold futures gained 0.3% to $1,815.

“The inflation hedge property of gold has been enhanced following U.S. CPI data, but gold is only slightly up because market participants are waiting for the Fed chief speech,” Xiao Fu, head of commodity market strategy at Bank of China International.

“On the one hand, gold is getting boosted by inflation hedge, but on the other hand, rising market expectation for a rake hike at the end of 2022 is offsetting some of the price advances.”

The biggest rise in U.S. consumer prices in 13 years has intensified investor focus on messaging from the Fed.

Futures on the federal funds rate raised bets on Tuesday that the Fed would tighten monetary policy between December 2022 and early in the first quarter of 2023 after stronger-than-expected U.S. inflation data.

“So far, the Fed has been assuming that the noticeably higher inflation rates are only transitory and that they will normalise again next year,” Commerzbank analysts said in a note.

“However, with each higher figure, the risk increases that inflation will remain elevated for a longer period of time.”

Some investors view gold as a hedge against higher inflation, but a Fed rate hike would dull bullion’s appeal as that increases the opportunity cost of holding the non-yielding metal.

Meanwhile, a slight retreat in the dollar and benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yields are supporting gold prices.

Elsewhere, silver rose 0.6% to $26.12 per ounce, platinum climbed 1.4% to $1,119.96, while palladium edged 0.1% higher to $2,830.42.

(Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Louise Heavens)