PRECIOUS-Gold rises to seven-week high on dovish Fed minutes – by Marcy Nicholson and Mariana Ionova (Reuters U.S. – October 9, 2015)

NEW YORK/LONDON, Oct 9 (Reuters) – Gold rose to a seven-week high on Friday after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting showed the U.S. central bank was in no hurry to raise interest rates, pressuring the U.S. dollar.

Spot gold was up 1.6 percent at $1,156.70 an ounce at 2:44 p.m. EDT (1844 GMT), after touching a peak of $1,159.80, its highest since Aug. 24. It is on course to gain 1.5 percent this week.

The U.S. futures contract for December delivery settled up 1 percent at $1,155.90 an ounce.

Prices were supported by Fed minutes released on Thursday, suggesting the central bank was deeply cautious about tightening monetary policy even before last week’s soft jobs data showed a sharp slowdown in U.S. hiring.

“There is less of a sentiment in the market that an interest rate hike will take place anytime soon,” said Bernard Dahdah, metals analyst at Natixis. “The data that has come out of the U.S. lately hasn’t been very positive.”

But the market remained somewhat cautious, taking note that the minutes also revealed most Fed policymakers thought the central bank’s first rate increase in nearly a decade should still come in 2015.

Weak U.S. economic data and worries about the global economy have prompted many to push back expectations for an interest rate hike, which has helped gold rise nearly 4 percent so far this month.

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