U.S. central bank sees only two interest-rate hikes this year
by Myra P. Saefong and Mark DeCambre
Gold futures settled lower Wednesday, pressured by some gains in the U.S. dollar on the back of strong economic data, but prices rallied past $1,240 an ounce in electronic trading after the Federal Reserve lowered the number of interest-rate increases it expects this year.
The Federal Open Market Committee held interest rates steady, with the benchmark irate in a range of 0.25%-0.5%, and indicated it intends to lift them very slowly because of a weak global environment and volatile stock market. Officials penciled in only two quarter-point hikes this year, down from four such hikes in December.
The central bank made its highly anticipated policy statement at 2 p.m. Eastern Time, about 30 minutes after gold futures settled on Comex.