New Delhi: Gold rose to a fresh two-and-a-half-week high on Wednesday after gaining nearly 2 percent in the previous session, as disappointing U.S. economic data reinforced expectations the US Federal Reserve will keep rates on hold in September.
US services sector activity slowed to a 6-1/2-year low in August amid sharp drops in production and orders, pointing to slowing economic growth that further diminished prospects for a near-term interest rate hike.
The US non-manufacturing new orders index for August fell to its lowest since December 2013.
Spot gold was up 0.2 percent at $1,351.51 per ounce by 0427 GMT. The metal touched a high of $1,352.65, its best since Aug. 19.
US gold futures rose 0.2 percent to $1,351.68.
"Gold looks to be moving into the next rally stage should it trade materially above $1,350," MKS PAMP Group trader James Gardiner said.
Spot gold may extend its gains to $1,358 per ounce, as it has cleared a resistance at $1,347, as per Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.
"Markets are expected to be quiet till European Central Bank`s interest rate decision on Thursday," said Kent Li, deputy incharge for bullion desk, Wing Fung Precious Metals.
"We could see gold move in the $1,350-$1,360 range with a support at $1,345 and resistance at $1,365."
The dollar took a tumble and Asian stocks rose to one-year highs on Wednesday after surprisingly weak U.S. services sector activity.
"The recent rally is impressive. But absence of a rate hike in September may largely be priced into gold. Also there has been some tightening of real yields," HSBC analyst James Steel said in a note.
"This may limit gains just as ongoing geopolitical tensions, public discontent, and threats to free trade and globalization will likely support the bullion markets. This leaves us price positive but likely with limited upside."
Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world`s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 1.52 percent, its best one-day gain since July 5, to 952.14 tonnes on Tuesday from 937.89 tonnes on Friday.
The Perth Mint`s sales of gold and silver products fell in August, in line with a trend reported by precious metal businesses worldwide, the mint said in a blog post on its website on Wednesday.
Spot silver was down slightly after touching an over three-week high of $20.13.
Platinum rose 0.3 percent to $1,103.30. It hit a 2-week high of $1,105.80. Palladium was up over 1 percent and touched an over two-week high of $708.40.