PRECIOUS-Gold prices hover near 9-month peak

Reuters

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       Jan 25(Reuters) - Gold prices held steady on Wednesday,
hovering near a nine-month peak touched in the previous session
on expectations of slower interest rate hikes from the U.S.
Federal Reserve. 
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold  XAU=  was flat at $1,936.39 per ounce, as of
0020 GMT. Prices hit their highest since late April 2022 on
Tuesday. 
    * U.S. gold futures  GCv1  were up 0.1% at $1,938.10.
    * Investors are mostly expecting the Fed to raise rates by
25 basis points (bps) at its policy meeting next week. The U.S.
central bank slowed its pace to 50 bps in December, following
four straight 75-bp hikes.
    * With lower rates translating into lesser returns on
interest-bearing assets like government bonds, investors may
prefer zero-yield gold.
    * Market focus is now on the U.S. fourth quarter GDP growth
estimates on Thursday. 
    * U.S. business activity contracted for the seventh straight
month in January, though the downturn moderated across both the
manufacturing and services sectors for the first time since
September and business confidence strengthened as the new year
began.
    * Swiss exports of gold to countries including China,
Turkey, Singapore and Thailand surged to multi-year highs in
2022, Swiss customs data showed on Tuesday. 
    * Australia's Newcrest Mining  NCM.AX  said gold production
fell 2.8% in the second quarter from the first, missing analyst
expectations, after operations were suspended at its Brucejack
operations in Canada following a fatality.
    * Spot silver  XAG=  slipped 0.4% to $23.57 per ounce,
platinum  XPT=  lost 0.3% at $1,053.43, and palladium  XPD= 
fell 0.2% to $1,739.68.
    DATA/EVENTS (GMT)
    0500  Japan    Chain Store Sales YY       Dec
    0500  Japan    Leading Indicator Revised  Nov
    0900  Germany  Ifo Business Climate New   Jan
    0900  Germany  Ifo Curr Conditions New    Jan
    0900  Germany  Ifo Expectations New       Jan
    1100  France   Unemp Class-A SA           Dec
 (Reporting by Ashitha Shivaprasad in Bengaluru; Editing by
Rashmi Aich)
 ((Ashitha.Shivaprasad@thomsonreuters.com;))

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