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Gold holds tight range as traders seek direction from U.S. data

07/13/2021 | 05:03am EDT

* U.S. CPI report due at 1230 GMT

* 'Persistent' ECB won't tighten too early - Lagarde

July 13 (Reuters) - Gold prices were trapped in a tight range as investors awaited U.S. inflation data on Tuesday that could provide more clarity on the Federal Reserve's timeline for policy tightening.

Spot gold was up 0.3% at $1,811.95 per ounce by 1208 GMT. U.S. gold futures were 0.2% higher at $1,809.80.

"If we get a slightly hotter inflation print today that could exert upward pressure on the U.S. 10-year yields, which in turn could exert downward pressure on gold," said CMC Markets UK's chief market analyst Michael Hewson.

After the U.S. consumer price index due at 1230 GMT, markets will focus on Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's response to the data, when he testifies before Congress on Wednesday and Thursday.

Following a hawkish tilt from the U.S. central bank last month, Powell said the Fed would not raise interest rates too quickly based only on the fear of coming inflation.

A Fed rate increase would dull gold's appeal as that increases the opportunity cost of holding the non-yielding metal.

"The fact that the Fed and the ECB are likely to diverge when it comes to monetary policy over the course of the next 6 to 12 months, there is a potential for the dollar to go higher and that could constrain to a certain extent the upside in gold prices," Hewson added.

The European Central Bank has pledged to be "persistent" and will not repeat its past mistake of tightening policy too early, its president Christine Lagarde said on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, palladium dropped 0.1% to $2,853.27 per ounce and platinum fell 0.2% to $1,115.51.

StoneX analyst Rhona O’Connell said that continued stress in the global vehicle market, mainly due to a semi-conductor shortage, could reduce some 200,000 ounces of platinum growth in the auto sector this year, and up to 400,000 ounces in palladium.

Silver rose 0.1% to $26.19 per ounce. (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; editing by Jason Neely, Louise Heavens and Jane Merriman)

© Reuters 2021
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