Gold Little Changed, U.S. Data Backs Rate Stance

Gold edged lower on Friday as robust U.S. economic data was seen as fodder for the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates high for longer, but caution ahead of inflation data and the policy meeting next week put a floor under bullion prices.

Prices for the shiny yellow metal were down 0.2% at $1,926.09 U.S. per ounce, but held a relatively tight range after retreating nearly 1% in the previous session following the U.S. data.

U.S. gold futures eased 0.1% to $1,927.30.

Data on Thursday showed the U.S. economy grew faster than expected, but most economists expect a recession by the second half of the year, though a short and mild one compared to previous downturns because of extraordinary labor market strength.

The dollar index , meanwhile, was largely steady, making greenback-priced bullion a less attractive bet.

Investors are keeping a close eye on the central bank’s two-day policy meeting next week, with a 25-basis-point rate increase widely expected.

Gold, which pays no interest, tends to benefit when interest rates are low as it reduces the opportunity cost of holding bullion.

Spot silver fell 0.7% to $23.72 U.S. per ounce.

Platinum slipped 0.9% to $1,009.38 U.S. and palladium lost 0.5% to $1,668.69 U.S.. Both metals were headed for a third straight weekly decline.