By Myra P. Saefong and Rachel Koning Beals
Gold and silver futures gained Thursday after Federal Reserve meeting minutes issued a day earlier raised doubts about the speed and scope of interest-rate hikes, boosting the allure of holding precious metals.
December gold GCZ6, +0.52% climbed by $5.90, or 0.4%, to $1,354.70 an ounce. Gold settled lower Wednesday, pulling back from nearly two-week highs and finishing below the closely watched $1,350 line. But prices gained in after-hours action after the Fed minutes were released.
September silver SIU6, +0.42% was at $19.755 an ounce, up 10.7 cents, or 0.5%.
According to the Fed minutes, officials at the late-July meeting were relieved that their worst fears about the economy didn't materialize. But they were divided on whether that meant they should quickly resume lifting interest rates, according to the minutes.
“The Fed doesn’t know when it will raise rates next, as it’s dependent on the incoming data, particularly inflation,” said Ryan Sweet, economist with Moody’s Analytics Economy.com.
The minutes disappointed those traders betting the Fed had turned more hawkish, especially after the New York Fed chief, William Dudley, said earlier this week the panel could possibly raise rates as soon as September. Fed-funds futures markets price in slim odds for a September or December hike, with the odds turning closer to even for early 2017.