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Gold eased on Wednesday as the dollar briefly halted its slide and investors booked profits from a record rally, with some caution setting in as focus turned to a US Federal Reserve meeting widely expected to reinforce loose monetary policy.
Spot gold was down 0.4% at $1,951.24 per ounce by 0601 GMT. Prices hit an all-time high of $1,980.57 on Tuesday. U.S. gold futures rose 0.1% to $1,947.40.
Gold is closely following moves in the dollar, which has halted its fall, said DailyFx currency strategist Ilya Spivak.
"As we get closer to the Fed announcement and the event risk, the market will get a bit more wary," Spivak added.
The dollar index was little changed at 93.668 , having touched its lowest level since June 2018 this week. A weaker dollar, also considered a rival safe haven, makes gold cheaper for holders of others currencies.
Coronavirus cases continued to surge in the United States and stood at over 16.6 million globally.
Its intensifying spread and an escalation in US-China tensions have dented hopes of quick economic recovery, and have been driving inflows to safe-haven assets like gold, which has risen more than 28% so far this year.
The Fed will publish its interest rate decision at 1800 GMT, widely expected to keep rates unchanged, following which Chair Jerome Powell is scheduled to hold a press conference.
"I expect the Fed to maintain its uber-dovish tone and this will support precious metals prices," said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at OANDA.
Gold tends to gain when interest rates are low, which reduces the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.
It's also considered a hedge against inflation and currency debasement as central bank pump out stimulus.
Republicans in the White House and the U.S. Congress struggled to reach a deal over a $1 trillion aid plan. Elsewhere, silver dropped 1.7% to $24.16 per ounce, platinum fell 1.3% to $936.09 and palladium slipped 0.6% to $2,269.22.
Spot gold fell 0.6% to $1,885.81 per ounce by 0618 GMT, declining 4.3% so far in the month in what would be its worst monthly performance since November 2016. US gold futures were down 0.5% at $1,893.30.
With vast monetary easing measures put in place by the Federal Reserve pushing the dollar lower against most other currencies, gold is flying, hitting an all-time high of $1,944.71, well above its previous record of $1,921.18 seen in 2011. It later pulled back slightly.
Spot gold was down 0.1% at $1,807.80 per ounce by 0455 GMT. U.S. gold futures were steady at $1,809.70.
Spot gold was steady at $1,941.23 per ounce by 0707 GMT, but off its peak of $1,980.57 hit earlier, with the retreat also attributed to profit-taking. U.S. gold futures rose 0.2% to $1,935.10. Silver dropped 0.7% after rising as much as 6.4% to $26.19 per ounce, its highest since April 2013.
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