Gold price steadied near $1,155 an ounce on Wednesday as investors awaited Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s congressional testimony for more clues on the timing of a U.S. interest rate rise expected later this year.
Stocks and the dollar were also rangebound ahead of the Fed testimony, with caution ahead of a Greek parliamentary vote on austerity measures and after a further drop in Chinese shares also limiting moves.
Spot gold was at $1,155.00 an ounce at 0921 GMT, little changed from Tuesday, while U.S. gold futures for August delivery were up 40 cents an ounce at $1,154.90.
“The market is waiting for a trio of reasons: uncertainty over which direction Chinese equities might move in next comes at the same time as the Greek parliament’s vote on the latest debt proposal and Janet Yellen’s comments later today,” Mitsui Precious Metals analyst David Jollie said.
“With a degree of short-term uncertainty present in each of the three major markets, investors and other players may wait before deciding to act,” he said.
Gold has come under pressure in the first half of the year from expectations that the Fed is set to raise rates for the first time in nearly a decade, lifting the opportunity cost of holding gold.
Yellen’s semi-annual testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives at 1400 GMT is likely to reiterate that it will be appropriate to raise interest rates later this year.
However, the bank has previously indicated that the timing of a rate increase will be dependent on economic data. Gold took support on Tuesday from unexpectedly weak U.S. retail sales data, which stoked speculation a rate rise could be pushed back.
In Greece, lawmakers from Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ Syriza party and their allies are preparing to vote on European Union prescribed austerity measures on Wednesday, seen as the key hurdle to a final agreement for a bailout.
A lot of the measures in a deal struck with Greece’s lenders will have a recessionary effect, but removing the prospect of a “Grexit” will help offset their impact and bring in investments, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said.
“Greece developments have not had a bullish impact on gold but further glitches in the Greek debt relief process could lend modest support to prices,” HSBC said in a note.
Among other precious metals, silver was down 0.3 percent at $15.30 an ounce, while platinum was flat at $1,023 an ounce and palladium was up 0.5 percent at $652.97 an ounce.