01-01-1970 12:00 AM | Source: Reuters
Gold prices range-bound as traders focus on central bank decisions
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Gold prices were little changed on Monday as investors awaited a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting this week where the central bank could signal a pause in interest rate hikes from July.

Spot gold was little changed at $1,960.30 per ounce by 0340 GMT. Bullion gained nearly 0.3% last week.

U.S. gold futures fell 0.2% to $1,962.00.

With a Fed rate hike in the July meeting nearly certain, "a positive outlook for gold revolves around central bank buying to drive long-term gold prices," said Michael Langford, chief investment officer at Scorpion Minerals.

Data on Friday showed COMEX gold speculators raised net long position by 35,288 contracts to 135,907 in the week ended July 18. [CFTC/]

Additionally, the risk of a U.S. recession, evident in the inverted yield curve, could lift gold investment, ANZ analysts highlighted in a note.

Gold is considered as a safe store of value during economic and geopolitical uncertainties and typically does well when interest rates are low or near zero.

The dollar index inched lower, but held near its more than one-week peak hit on July 20, limiting gold's rise as a stronger dollar makes the metal more expensive for holders of other currencies. [USD/]

Along with the Fed, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of Japan are also meeting this week. Markets are fully priced for a quarter-point hikes from the Fed and the ECB, and the focus will be on what Fed Chair Jerome Powell and ECB President Christine Lagarde say about the future.

Gold is highly sensitive to rising interest rates, as they increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

Traders are also awaiting second-quarter U.S. GDP data on Thursday, followed by personal consumption expenditures (PCE) index figures for June on Friday. [MKTS/GLOB]

Among other metals, spot silver held steady at $24.58 per ounce, platinum was down 0.2% to $960.16 while palladium fell 0.1% to $1,288.88.