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Gold rangebound as traders await economic data

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Gold edged up on Thursday, helped by a softer dollar in holiday-thinned trading, but prices moved in a tight range as market participants awaited economic data for further direction.

Spot gold rose 0.2% to $1,818.40 per ounce as of 0225 GMT. U.S. gold futures were up 0.1% at $1,827.70.

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The dollar index was down 0.2%, making gold cheaper for holders of other currencies.

The U.S. gross domestic product data for the third quarter and weekly U.S. jobless claim numbers are due at 1330 GMT. Traders will also scan the personal consumption expenditure (PCE) data scheduled on Friday, for cues on inflation.

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“Gold is holding a range as trading is fairly thin and investors are in wait-and-see mode. The PCE data will be important; if inflation continues to come down, dollar will further weaken and gold will get a steadier tone,” said Edward Meir, analyst with ED&F Man Capital Markets.

Bullion is traditionally known as an inflation hedge but rising interest rates dent the metal’s allure as it pays no interest.

The Federal Reserve lowered its pace of rate hikes gradually to 50 bps in December after four straight 75 bps rate hikes. However, Fed Chair Jerome Powell has signaled that the U.S. central bank will deliver more rate hikes next year.

Gold has risen about $200 since falling to a more than two-year low in late-September as expectations around slower rate hikes from the Fed dimmed the dollar’s charm.

Top bullion consumer China reported 3,030 new symptomatic COVID-19 infections on Dec. 21, compared with 3,101 a day earlier.

If lockdowns are back and we see a paralysis in the Chinese economy, demand will take a hit and it will be bearish for all commodities, including gold and other industrial metals, Meir said.

Spot silver gained 0.2% to $24.00, platinum rose 0.9% to $1,007.13 and palladium was flat at $1,692.38. (Reporting by Ashitha Shivaprasad in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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