Gold firms above $1,750/oz as Fed signals slower rate hikes

Gold prices firmed above the key $1,750 an ounce level on Thursday, consolidating gains after minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting signalled slower interest rate hikes.
* Spot gold rose 0.3% to $1,754.08 per ounce by 0033 GMT. U.S. gold futures advanced 0.5% to $1,754.30.
* A “substantial majority” of Fed policymakers agreed it would “likely soon be appropriate” to slow the pace of interest rate hikes, the readout of the Nov. 1-2 meeting showed.
* Fed fund futures are now pricing in an 85% chance of 50-basis point hike in the December meeting.
* Lower rates tend to lift appeal for bullion in comparison with other interest-bearing assets.

* Physical gold demand in Asia stayed soft this week, with premiums in top hub China easing further as fresh COVID-19 restrictions dimmed activity, while higher domestic prices put off most buyers in India.
* A group of 21 Tanzanian nationals on Wednesday filed a lawsuit in Canada alleging the world’s second-biggest gold miner, Barrick Gold, was complicit in extrajudicial killings by police guarding its North Mara mine.
* Spot silver rose 0.3% to $21.59 per ounce, platinum added 0.3% to $998.80, while palladium gained 0.6% to $1,892.67.
* Market activity could be relatively muted by the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.