(Reuters) - Gold prices hovered on Wednesday near a two-week high touched in the previous session ahead of a widely expected robust U.S. inflation reading this week, although elevated U.S. Treasury yields kept bullion's gains in check.
Spot gold XAU= was up 0.1% at $1,826.76 per ounce, as of 0725 GMT, holding near previous session's high of $1,828.68, the strongest level since Jan. 26.
U.S. gold futures GCv1 were steady at $1,828.10.
"Expectations of higher inflation are largely driving the move, as hawkish Fed's stance is largely priced-in," said Soni Kumari, a commodities strategist at ANZ.
U.S. inflation data for January is due on Thursday and expectations are for a 7.3% annual rise, after robust labour data last week boosted expectations of faster policy tightening by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly said on Tuesday the U.S. central bank should do neither too little nor be "overly aggressive," to cure pandemic-led inflation.
"The softening rhetoric around the pace of Fed rates lift-off is supportive of gold, and the price will be affected by any developments on the Russia-Ukraine front," said Nicholas Frappell, a global general manager at ABC Bullion.
Gold is often considered a hedge against inflation and geopolitical concerns, yet rate hikes would raise the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.
The dollar .DXY inched lower, while benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yields held below the November 2019 high reached on Tuesday.
"The focus is on real rates, and although they are higher, they remain negative ... so there is a bit of a push-and-pull here, where on the one hand, real rates are going up, which is gold-negative, but they still remain less attractive than gold," said Ilya Spivak, currency strategist at DailyFX. US10YTIP=RR
Among other metals, silver edged up 0.1% to $23.20 per ounce, its highest since Jan. 27.
Platinum fell 0.4% to $1,028.57 and palladium dipped 0.1% to $2,245.26.
(Reporting by Seher Dareen in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
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