March 9 (Reuters) – Gold prices edged higher on Thursday as the dollar eased, although US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s hawkish remarks limited further gains in zero-yielding bullion.
* Spot gold was up 0.1% at USD 1,815.58 per ounce, as of 0046 GMT, after hitting a one-week low on Wednesday. US gold futures were unchanged at USD 1,819.10.
* The dollar index was down from three-month highs scaled on Wednesday, making bullion more affordable for buyers holding other currencies.
* Fed Chair Powell on Wednesday reaffirmed his message of higher and potentially faster interest rate hikes, but emphasized that debate was still underway with a decision hinging on data to be issued before the US central bank’s policy meeting in two weeks.
* Although gold is considered a hedge against inflation, interest rate hikes to control rising prices dims non-yielding bullion’s appeal.
* Investors’ focus will now be on the US jobs report for February due on Friday.
* Private employment increased by 242,000 jobs last month, the ADP National Employment report showed on Wednesday.
* Other data on Wednesday showed US job openings fell less than expected in January, pointing to persistently tight labor market conditions.
* Markets are pricing in a 50-basis-point hike at the Fed’s March 21-22 policy meeting.
* Spot silver was flat at USD 20.01 per ounce, platinum edged 0.1% higher at USD 938.23 and palladium firmed 0.2% to USD 1,375.47.
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(Reporting by Kavya Guduru in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
This article originally appeared on reuters.com