Gold rose to its highest in nearly five weeks on Thursday after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting last month signalled that a hike in U.S. interest rates in September may be unlikely.
Fed officials worried that lagging U.S. inflation and a weak global economy posed too big a risk to commit to a “lift off” on rates, buoying gold that had been out of favour amid an imminent tightening in U.S. monetary policy.
“Given that the possibility for a hike in September has diminished, I would think there is a higher probability for a December rate hike. And that does give a near-term support to gold prices,” said Barnabas Gan, analyst at OCBC Bank in Singapore.
Spot gold touched $1,135.20 an ounce, its loftiest since July 17, and was flat at $1,134 by 0232 GMT.
U.S. gold for December delivery rose half a percent to $1,133.80 an ounce.
Spot gold has now recovered more than 5 percent from a 5-1/2-year low of $1,077 reached in a late July rout.
The precious metal is on track for a second weekly gain after ending its longest retreat since 1999, having benefited last week from uncertainty posed by China’s surprise devaluation of its currency.
A potential delay in a rate increase to December offers upside potential for non-interest bearing gold, with OCBC’s Gan seeing initial resistance at $1,150, a level last seen in May.
Many analysts had been betting on a rate hike when Fed officials next meet in September given sustained strength in the world’s largest economy. But some thought policymakers might take a gradual approach in lifting rates after China’s yuan devaluation.
MKS Group trader Samuel Laughlin said gold closing above $1,132 on Wednesday was “technically bullish” for the metal, adding “we may see a move towards $1,145-$1,150 in the short term.”
Amid the bullish tone for gold, spot platinum matched Wednesday’s five-week high of $1,014 an ounce and was last up 0.2 percent at $1,013.50. Palladium slipped 0.2 percent to $609.20 per ounce and silver was steady at $15.31.