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It might be hard for even the most ardent gold bull to drum up a campaign for the yellow metal.

Gold completed a second day of anemic, sideways action to end firmly under $1,790 an ounce, ahead of the Federal Reserve’s (almost certainly non-consequential) interest rate decision and, of course, the more important post-meeting news conference of Fed chief Jay Powell slotted for later Wednesday.

After last week’s near misses at the $1,800 resistance, there had been hopes that gold would again showcase some of that energy this week.

But the action of the past 48 hours proved longs in the yellow metal needed a lot more patience to reprise that pricing, or let alone advance to the more crucial $1,900 berth that would pave a return to the $2,000-plus record highs notched by gold last August.

“Right now, gold prices only care about the Fed,” said Ed Moya, head of U.S. research at online trading platform OANDA. “Gold is stuck despite U.S. consumer confidence hitting a pandemic high, home prices jumping the most since 2006, and as other commodity prices surge.”

Phillip Streible, precious metals strategist at Blueline Futures in Chicago, had a less-flattering take on it.

“Gold was dead on arrival at under $1,790 this week,” said Streible. “Should it ever get to above $1,799, hedge funds will short it right away.”

Benchmark gold futures on New York’s Comex settled down $1.30, or 0.1%, at $1,778.80 an ounce.

The spot price of gold was even lower, falling by $4.38, or 0.3%, to 1,776.99 by 3:30 PM ET (19:30 GMT).

Moves in spot gold are integral to fund managers, who sometimes rely more on it than futures for direction.

Moya thinks gold could break above $1,800 if Fed Chair Powell’s upgraded outlook on the economy does not trigger a bond market selloff.

“Powell could very well stick to the inflation-will-be-transitory script and that might be enough to get gold bulls excited,” Moya said. “Wall Street has heavily priced in high inflation, so if Powell pushes back that could be enough to let gold take off.”

Wishful thinking?

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