Gold prices were flat to slightly higher on Wednesday as safe-haven demand spurred by the possibility of new sanctions on Russia countered hawkish comments from Fed Governor Lael Brainard.
Spot gold edged up 0.3 percent to $1,929.11 per ounce, while U.S. gold futures were up 0.1 percent at $1,929.70.
Markets await fresh sanctions to punish Moscow over alleged atrocities in Ukraine, something Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky described as “war crimes”.
The European Commission has already proposed new sanctions including banning Russian coal imports, raising worries about a new global supply challenge.
Rising Covid-19 cases in China also weighed on risk assets, with Chinese authorities extending a lockdown in Shanghai to cover all of the financial center’s 26 million people.
The dollar rally continued and Treasury yields surged after Fed Governor Lael Brainard, who is awaiting Senate confirmation to serve as the Fed’s vice chairwoman, called the task of reducing inflation pressures “paramount” and indicated an aggressive approach to shrinking the Fed’s balance sheet.
The U.S. central bank may provide additional clues about the outlook for monetary policy with the release of the minutes of its March meeting later today.