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Gold loses momentum on ebbing rate cut speculation
George Ford Smith

May 24 (Reuters) - Gold prices rose on Friday as the dollar slipped, but were headed for their worst week in five and a half months as hopes of interest rate cuts by the U.S. central bank tamed.

Spot gold rose 0.2% to $2,332.77 per ounce as of 1:54 p.m. ET (1754 GMT) as the U.S. dollar index slipped 0.4%, making gold relatively less expensive for other currency holders.

U.S. gold futures settled 0.1% lower to $2,334.50.

Bullion hit a record high of $2,449.89 on Monday, but has shed more than $100 since then and is on track for a 3% drop this week, its worst weekly dip since early December.

"What we've always had was a little bit of a lack of interest from the Western investors on uncertainty over when the Fed will cut rates...once the Fed cuts rates, they would increase exposure again," said Michael Widmer, Bank of America's head of Metals Research.

Minutes from the Federal Reserve's last meeting published this week showed the central bank's path to 2% inflation could take longer than expected.

Traders' bets signalled growing doubts that the Fed will cut rates more than once in 2024, currently pricing in about a 63% chance of a rate cut by November according to the CME FedWatch Tool, opens new tab.

Higher interest rates make non-yielding gold a less appealing investment.

Despite uncertainty around U.S. rate outlook, gold prices managed to gain 13% so far this year, largely on the back of strong Chinese demand and ongoing geopolitical uncertainties, analysts have noted.

However, "there is a risk now that you might see somewhat lower gold purchases from the Chinese retail investors into the second half of this year, as the government is putting much more effort into reflating the economy. If that happens, you then revert back to the demand from the Western investors- taking us back to discussion about the Fed rate cuts," Widmer said.





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