Investing.com

Investing.com - Gold prices fluctuated between small gains and losses during Asian trading hours on Thursday after the release of Federal Reserve meeting minutes that highlighted the possibility of an increase in interest rates sooner than expected.



According to the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting held on Jan. 28-29, some participants said that it might be appropriate to increase the federal fund rates relatively soon. Higher interest rates are likely to strengthen the dollar and curb the demand of gold.



On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for April delivery rose 0.07% at US$1,312.90 a troy ounce during Asian trading.



On Wednesday the gold futures saw a session low of US$1,310.60 and off a high of US$1,312.40. They closed the session at US$1,311.80 a troy ounce.



Futures were likely to find support at $1,312.80 a troy ounce, Tuesday''s low, and resistance at $1,332.20, Monday'' high.



Gold prices have risen in recent weeks due to soft jobs, manufacturing and other economic indicators that have prompted many investors to speculate that the Federal Reserve may slow the pace at which it tapers its asset-buying stimulus program.



The Fed is currently buying $65 billion in bonds a month to suppress interest rates to spur recovery, which weakens the dollar as a side effect, thus bolstering gold''s image as a hedge.



On Wednesday profit taking sent the yellow metal falling as investors jumped to the sidelines to await the release of the Fed''s January policy meeting minutes.



Hit-or-miss data out of the U.S. failed to provide guidance ahead of time.



The Commerce Department reported earlier that U.S. housing starts fell 16% in January to 880,000 units, outpacing expectations for a 5.7% drop, though a series of winter storms may have played a factor.



The number of building permits issued last month declined by 5.4% to a seasonally adjusted 937,000 units, outpacing expectations for a 1.8% decline.



A separate report revealed that the U.S. producer price index rose 0.2% last month, beating forecasts for a 0.1% gain, while core producer prices were also up 0.2%.



Meanwhile, silver for March delivery was up 0.34% and trading at US$21.598 a troy ounce, while copper futures for March delivery were down 0.01% at US$3.278 a pound.



Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger