Gold traded near $1,900 an ounce on Friday and was on track to notch its fourth straight weekly gain, as data showed that US inflation eased further in December, fueling bets that the Federal Reserve will slow the pace of interest rate hikes. The annual inflation rate in the US slowed for a sixth straight month to 6.5% in December, in line with market forecasts. That was also the lowest reading since October 2021 and follows a 7.1% rise in November. Markets are now betting that the central bank would downshift to a smaller 25 basis point rate hike in its next meeting after delivering a half-percentage point increase in December. Meanwhile, investors remain cautious following a drumbeat of hawkish remarks from Fed officials this week. Gold is highly sensitive to the rates outlook as higher interest rates raise the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.
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