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Metals Rise on Weaker Dollar

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03/17/2017 | 01:03 pm

By Ed Ballard

LONDON--Metals prices rose on Friday as hints of a slower pace of U.S. interest-rate increases continued to weigh on the dollar.

Gold was up 0.2% at $1,228.85 a troy ounce in London trade, putting the precious metal on course for a 2% gain for the week. The London Metal Exchange's three-month copper contract was up 0.1% at $5,917.50 a metric ton, set for a 3.2% weekly gain.

The WSJ Dollar Index was fractionally lower, making dollar-priced assets cheaper for holders of other currencies, having fallen over 1% since the U.S. Federal Reserve lifted interest rates on Wednesday. The commentary accompanying the rate rise was less assertive about the prospect for more increases this year than dollar bulls had expected.

"It's a dollar story based on the commentary around Fed action," said Nitesh Shah, commodities strategist at ETF Securities. "It was less hawkish than people expected."

Looking ahead, he said the dollar will likely continue to dominate commodities markets next week, which brings speeches from Fed officials including Chairwoman Janet Yellen, as well as data that will shed light on the strength of the world's largest economy, including durable goods orders and a purchasing managers index.

Among precious metals, silver was up 0.3% at $17.37 an ounce, palladium gained 1% to $774.20 an ounce and platinum was down 0.02% at $957.50 an ounce.

Among the industrial metals, lead was up 1% at $2,268.50 a ton, tin gained 1% to $20,315 a ton and zinc was up 1.2% at $2,863.50 a ton. Nickel was down 0.05% at $10,210 a ton.

Write to Ed Ballard at [email protected]

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