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Gold Settles Higher As Dollar Eases Ahead Of Fed Minutes

Gold prices moved higher on Wednesday, as global stocks extended recent gains and the dollar shed ground against most major currencies ahead of release of the minutes of the Federal Reserve's policy meeting in December.

Easing worries about U.S.-China trade tensions amid speculation the two countries will strike a deal ahead of a March 1 deadline established by U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping last month at the G-20 summit in Argentina aided gold's uptick.

The World Bank's forecast that the world economy will grow at 2.9% this year, as against a 3% growth forecast made earlier played a role as well in prompting investors to seek the safe haven of the yellow metal.

The World Bank said, "The outlook for the global economy has darkened. Global financing conditions have tightened, industrial production has moderated, trade tensions have intensified, and some large emerging market and developing economies have experienced significant financial market stress,"

Gold futures for February ended up $6.10, or 0.5%, at $1,292.00 an ounce. On Tuesday, gold futures ended down $4.00, or 0.3%, at $1,285.90 an ounce.

Silver futures for March settled at $15.735 an ounce, up $0.022 from Tuesday's close.

Copper futures for March ended at $2.657 per pound, little changed from previous close.

The dollar index shed about 0.7% amid speculation the Fed might pause monetary tightening sometime soon.

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans reportedly said today that the Fed is likely to eventually push rates up slightly into restrictive territory if the dark clouds over the outlook clear up. Meanwhile, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard is reported to have said that more rate increases could push the U.S. economy into a recession.

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