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Gold futures edge lower as Fed minutes loom

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Shutterstock photo - - Gold prices declined in subdued trade on Wednesday, as investors adopted a cautious approach before the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting later in the session.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for June delivery shed $4.80, or 0.4%, to trade at $1,205.80 a troy ounce during U.S. morning hours.

A day earlier, gold lost $8.00, or 0.66%, to close at $1,210.60 as a broadly stronger U.S. dollar weighed. Futures were likely to find support at $1,178.20, the low from March 31, and resistance at $1,224.50, the high from April 6.

Investors will be focusing on Wednesday's minutes of the latest Fed meeting for further indications on the central bank's next policy moves after Friday's downbeat jobs data fuelled uncertainty over the timing of a rate hike.

The Labor Department reported Friday that the U.S. economy added 126,000 new jobs in March, less than half of February's gain and the smallest increase since December 2013.

Gold prices have been well supported in recent sessions amid expectations U.S. interest rates will rise at a slower pace than previously thought.

Futures are up nearly 6% since hitting a recent low of $1,140.60 on March 17, as indications that the U.S. economy slowed in the first quarter fuelled bets the Federal Reserve will hold off on hiking interest rates until late 2015.

A delay in raising interest rates would be seen as bullish for gold, as it decreases the relative cost of holding on to the metal, which doesn't offer investors any similar guaranteed payout.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback's strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.7% to trade at 97.55 early on Wednesday.

Elsewhere on the Comex, silver futures for May delivery declined 6.5 cents, or 0.39%, to trade at $16.77 a troy ounce, while copper for May delivery fell 1.5 cents, or 0.53%, to trade at $2.748 a pound.

Copper futures remained supported as a disruption to mining output in Chile, Indonesia and Australia prompted traders to reassess the outlook for global supply and demand.

Before the recent wave of disruptions, many market analysts anticipated that copper production from mines would exceed demand in 2015 for the first time in six years. Now, some are predicting a deficit.

Chilean state copper commission Cochilco said on Tuesday that the country is expected to produce 5.94 million tons of copper in 2015, down from a previous estimate of 6.0 million tons.

Chile produces around a third of the world's copper and is the world's biggest exporter of the metal.

Prices of the red metal are up almost 14% since hitting a recent low of $2.420 on January 26. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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