Gold, silver edge lower as firm dollar weighs

Gold and silver prices edged lower on Thursday, weighed down by a stronger dollar, while investors awaited the passage of a massive stimulus package in the United States.

Spot gold eased 0.1 per cent to $1,832.84 per ounce by 0044 GMT. US gold futures were steady at $1,834.70. * Spot silver shed 0.5 per cent to $26.72.

Prices have eased since hitting a near eight-year peak of $30.03 on Monday as the social media-driven rally fizzled out. The dollar hit its highest in over two months on Wednesday, making precious metals expensive for holders of other currencies.

Benchmark 10-year Treasury yield rose to its highest in over three weeks. The US House of Representatives pushed ahead on Wednesday with a manoeuvre to pass a $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid plan without Republican support, although President Joe Biden said he would consider tighter limits on who would qualify for $1,400 checks.

While easy monetary policy can support the US economy in the long term, more fiscal help may be needed in the short term to carry the economy through the pandemic, Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank President Loretta Mester said on Wednesday.

US private payrolls rebounded more than expected in January, suggesting the labour market recovery was back on track after the economy shed jobs in December.

The Bank of England on Thursday is likely to set its sights on the prospects of economic recovery later this year, and any backing it gives to the idea of negative interest rates as a new stimulus weapon will probably be cautious.

Platinum fell 0.4 per cent at $1,096.08 an ounce and palladium lost 0.2 per cent to $2,270.06.

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