Gold near three-month high as investors expect US rate hike delay

SINGAPORE: Gold steadied near a three-month high on Tuesday, as investors pushed back expectations of a Federal Reserve interest rate hike to next year and on a weaker dollar.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold XAU= was little changed at $1,161.96 an ounce by 0037 GMT, after a two-day rally. It hit a three-month high of $1,169 in the previous session.

* The dollar languished around three-week lows against a basket of currencies.

* The Fed was expected to raise U.S. rates for the first time in nearly a decade this year, but recent weak U.S. data, concerns over Chinese growth and volatility in financial markets have prompted markets to shift rate hike views to early 2016.

* The US central bank refrained from hiking rates at its last meeting in September. It holds two more policy meets in 2015: on Oct. 27-28, and then in December.

* Higher rates could dent demand for non-interest-paying bullion, while boosting the dollar.

* The Fed should hold off on any rate hike until it is clear that a global slowdown, trouble in China and other international risks will not push the US recovery off course, Fed Governor Lael Brainard said on Monday in one of the strongest defences yet of a go-slow approach to rate policy.

* There could be sufficient economic data for the Fed to consider a rate hike at their meeting later in October but there will be a lot more data on hand in time for the December meeting, Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart said on Monday.

* In other industry news, Mitsui (8031.T) will close its precious metals businesses in London and New York at the end of this year, two sources familiar with the situation said, due to sliding commodity prices and more stringent regulation.

* Among other precious metals, silver XAG= dipped 0.2 percent to $15.79 an ounce, though it wasn't too far from a 3-1/2-month high of $16.10 hit last week.

* Platinum XPT= fell about 1 percent after hitting a one-month high of $998.50 an ounce in the previous session. Palladium XPD= also eased.

* For the top stories on metals and other news, click [TOP/MTL] or [GOL]

MARKET NEWS

* Crude oil futures tumbled on Monday on profit-taking and a report of higher OPEC production, while pressure lingered on the US dollar as markets priced the possibility that the Fed would not begin a tightening cycle this year.

DATA AHEAD (GMT)

China Trade data Sep

0600 Germany Wholesale price index Sep

0900 Germany ZEW economic sentiment Oct

1000 US NFIB business optimism Sep

PRICES AT 0037 GMT

Metal Last Change Pct chg

Spot gold 1161.96 -1.64 -0.14

Spot silver 15.79 -0.03 -0.19

Spot platinum 985.2 -7.8 -0.79

Spot palladium 687.75 -2.25 -0.33

Comex gold 1161.9 -2.6 -0.22

Comex silver 15.805 -0.059 -0.37

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