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Gold inches up ahead of Fed minutes, as Greece continues to weigh
May 21,2015 10:28CST
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Gold futures inched up on Wednesday ahead of the Federal Reserve's release of its minutes from its April meeting.

May 20, 2015 05:08PM GMT

Investing.com -- Gold futures inched up on Wednesday ahead of the Federal Reserve's release of its minutes from its April meeting, as Greece intensified pressure on its creditors to strike a deal before the end of the month.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for June delivery rose 2.30 or 0.19% to 1,208.90 a troy ounce in U.S. afternoon trading. Gold futures were traded in a tight range of 1,202.90 at the low end and a peak of 1,212.30, as metal traders awaited the release of the Fed minutes later in the session for any further indications on the timing of a potential interest-rate hike.

Gold likely gained support at 1,205.10 the low from May 19 and was met with resistance at 1,225.80 the high from May 15.

Following the conclusion of its two-day meeting on April 29, the Federal Open Market Committee removed all calendar references to the timing of its first rate hike in nearly a decade, amid a wave of soft economic data. Previously, the Fed abandoned its patience stance on raising its benchmark Fed Funds Rate during its March FOMC meeting – signaling that it could increase rates at some point this year. In between meetings, however, the Fed indicated that economic growth had slowed due in part to "transient factors," such as lowering energy prices and lower import prices due to the appreciation in the dollar.

The Fed has reiterated its position that it will take a "data-driven" approach to lift-off when it is reasonably confident it has seen significant improvements in the economy. More specifically, the Fed downgraded labor conditions from improving to moderating, household spending from rising moderately to declining and business investment from advancing to softening when the FOMC last met.

Fed chair Janet Yellen is also keeping a close eye on inflationary pressures, after the FOMC described inflation as "running below" its targeted annual goal of 2% at the April meeting. After falling sharply in January, the Consumer Price Index rebounded only slightly in March – rising 0.2% from the previous month. On a yearly basis, the CPI is down 0.1% over the last 12 months.

Other measures have indicated that inflation has stabilized. Core CPI, which excludes food and energy costs, was up by 1.8% on a yearly basis in March.

Separately, the Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) price index, the Fed's preferred gauge of inflation, inched up by 0.3% year-over-year in March. When the CPI for April is released on Friday, economists expect the reading to increase modestly on a monthly basis by 0.1%.

Gold, which is not attached to interest rates or dividends, struggles to compete with high-yield bearing assets in periods of rising rates. A rate hike by the Fed is viewed as being bearish for gold.

In Athens, Greek government officials said they will run out of cash in the coming weeks unless it reaches a deal with its creditors before it owes approximately €1.5 billion in payments to the International Monetary Fund next month. Negotiations have stalled as Greece has been unwilling to roll back pension and labor reform measures the creditors have deemed necessary to unlock the final €7.2 billion tranche of the nation's €240 billion bailout.

Elsewhere, silver for July delivery gained 0.071 or 0.42% to 17.142 an ounce.

Copper for July delivery plunged to a three-week low, falling 0.010 or 0.37% to 2.8237 a pound.

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