Gold futures edged lower on Wednesday, holding ground near the lowest price in three weeks, as investors watched for the latest update from the Federal Reserve on pace of U.S. economic growth and inflation in the recovery phase from COVID-19.

“Today is a critical day for the precious metal because the Fed’s stance will set the tone for future fluctuations in gold prices,” wrote Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at AvaTrade in a daily note.

August gold


was trading $2.60, or 0.2%, at $1,796.90 an ounce, after gaining 0.03% on Tuesday.

“A surprising hawkish tone could send the precious metal tumbling, implying an impending rise in interest rates, reducing gold’s appeal. It would also help to boost the dollar index,” Aslam said.

“However, a change in the Fed’s stance is unlikely, and thus gold prices are expected to remain stable,” the AvaTrade analyst wrote.

The Federal Reserve concludes its two-day meeting on Wednesday, with a statement due to be released at 2 p.m. ET, a half-hour after metals settle on Comex.

Investors will key in on Chairman Jerome Powell’s news conference at 2:30 p.m., where he will likely reiterate the central bank’s view that surging inflation is temporary. Any talk of timing of how and when to pare back the Fed’s $120 billion in monthly asset purchases also will be followed closely.

Meanwhile, September silver


was gaining 18 cents, or 0.7%, at $24.83 an ounce, after shedding 2.6% on Tuesday.

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