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MTECHTIPS:-Gold steady close to 2-week highs

Gold prices were trading close to two-week highs on Wednesday as expectations that the Federal Reserve may hold off raising interest rates until next year continued to weigh on the dollar. U.S. gold futures for December delivery were last at $1,147.4 an ounce, after rising to highs of $1,152.7 earlier. Gold rallied on Tuesday, ending the session up 0.76% after data showing that the U.S. trade deficit widened by the most in five months in August as exports dropped. The Commerce Department reported that the trade gap widened 15.6% to $48.3 billion, from $41.9 billion in July. Lower oil prices and a stronger dollar are weighing on U.S. exports and the data added to fears that the economy could lose momentum in the third quarter. The dollar was already under pressure after last Friday’s unexpectedly weak jobs report for September underlined fears that a slowdown in global economic growth has spread to the U.S. economy. The weak data prompted investors to push back expectations on the timing of an initial rate hike by the Fed to early 2016. Gold would benefit from any delay in raising U.S. interest rates as the precious metal would struggle to compete with yield-bearing assets. Higher rates would also boost the dollar, which would make dollar-denominated gold more expensive for holders of other currencies. The International Monetary Fund downgraded its global growth forecasts for a second time this year on Tuesday, warning that slowing growth in China and the protracted rebalancing in the commodities market posed increased downside risks to growth.

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