Gold prices dipped in Asia on Wednesday ahead of the release of the latest Federal REserve board meeting minutes and on recent upbeat economic data from the U.S.
On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for December delivery traded at $1,296.30 a troy oune, down 0.03%, after hitting an overnight session low of $1,295.00 and off a high of $1,303.30.
Overnight, gold prices dipped on Tuesday after upbeat U.S. housing and consumer inflation cemented expectations for the Federal Reserve to chip away at its ultra-loose monetary policies that have supported the precious metal for years.
On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve is to publish the minutes of its latest policy meeting.
The U.S. Commerce Department said that the number of building permits issued in July jumped 8.1% to 1.052 million units from June’s total of 973,000. Analysts expected building permits to rise by 2.5% to 1.0 million units in July.
The report also showed that U.S. housing starts soared by 15.7% last month to hit 1.093 million units from June’s total of 945,000, far past expectations for an increase of 8.6% to 969,000 units.
A separate report showed that the U.S. consumer price index rose 0.1% last month from June and 2.0% on year, both figures meeting estimates.
Core consumer prices, which exclude food and energy costs, inched up by 0.1% last month, missing expectations for a 0.2% gain, though the year-on-year rate came in at 1.9%, which met expectations.
On Monday, the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index increased to 55.0 in August, a seven-month high, from 53.0 in July, beating estimates for a reading of 53.0.
The data fueled market speculation that the Federal Reserve will close its asset-purchasing stimulus program in October and hike interest rates some time in 2015.
Loose monetary policy programs, including three monthly asset purchasing-programs rolled out since the 2008 financial crisis, have supported gold by suppressing interest rates, making the yellow metal an attractive hedge to a weaker greenback.
Silver for September delivery was UP 0.08% at $19.428 a troy ounce. Copper futures for September delivery were UP 0.06% at $3.091 a pound.