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Gold Down; Market Stuck at $1,220 Level Awaiting Next Big Catalyst

No big volatility seen in gold until December Fed decision.

Investing.com - Forget big volatility in gold futures for now.

With the end of the U.S. midterm elections and ahead of the December decision on interest rates by the Federal Reserve, the yellow metal is likely to hover between $1,220 and $1,240 per ounce.

"Until the next big catalyst or shoe drops on us, we're stuck at these levels, I think," said Tom Beller, market strategist with oversight for precious metals at RJO Futures in Chicago.

Gold has firmly held above the $1,200 per troy ounce level critical to the psyche of market bulls since September, helped partly by its position as safe haven to the US-China trade war and other troubles.

In Thursday's session, Comex gold for December delivery traded in a tight band of less than $8 in Thursday's session, moving from a session low of $1,221 to a high of $1,228.40 a troy ounce, before settling down $3.60 at $1,225.10.

Traders cited the stronger dollar as one reason for gold's slide. The dollar index, measured against a basket of six currencies, was up 0.7% at 96.50 by 3:30 PM ET (2030 GMT) after the Fed left U.S. short-term interest rates unchanged at its November monthly meeting on Thursday.

The U.S. central bank is expected to approve a quarter-point hike in rates at its December meeting, though, marking the fourth such increase for the year.

As for the language in its closely-watched policy statement, it noted that the unemployment rate "has declined" since its September meeting where the headline jobless level was at a 1969-low of 3.7%. But it also noted that the "growth of business fixed investment has moderated from its rapid pace earlier in the year."

As of Thursday, fed funds futures showed the odds for a rate hike in December standing at nearly 76%.

Still, with the gridlock expected in Washington after Tuesday’s midterm vote, talk is building that President Donald Trump's pro-growth policies may stall and that the Fed may actually refrain from a December hike. If that happens, gold could see an outsize build, some analysts say.

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