Gold dipped on Wednesday as riskier assets bounced back, with bullion investors awaiting further developments on the Ukraine crisis, while also preparing for impending policy tightening by major central banks.
Spot gold dropped 0.2% to $1,894.82 per ounce by 1035 GMT, retreating from a near nine-month high of $1,913.89 hit on Tuesday. U.S. gold futures shed 0.6% to $1,896.10.
"Gold has moderated below the psychologically-important $1,900 level as sanctions imposed on Russia didn't live up to the market’s worst fears," Han Tan, chief market analyst at Exinity said.
Western nations on Tuesday imposed new sanctions on Russia for ordering troops into separatist regions of eastern Ukraine and threatened to go further if Moscow launched an all-out invasion of its neighbour.
Global stocks broke a four-day slide on Wednesday, with investors awaiting Russia's next move.
"Should fears over geopolitical tensions subside, that would leave the Fed’s policy tightening path as bullion’s primary driver, with further climbs in real Treasury yields likely to unwind the geopolitical risk premiums currently baked into gold prices," Tan said.
Federal Reserve officials last week quelled what had been rising market expectations for an aggressive initial response to 40-year-high U.S. inflation, signalling that steady interest rate hikes should be enough.
U.S. 10-year Treasury yields edged higher on Wednesday, raising the opportunity cost of holding non-interest paying bullion.
However, gold's rival safe-haven asset the U.S. dollar also dipped, limiting losses in greenback-priced bullion.
While its momentum has likely slowed temporarily, gold is still quite elevated and the situation in Ukraine remains volatile, said Xiao Fu, head of commodities markets strategy at Bank of China International.
If losses hold, spot gold is set for a second consecutive drop for the first time since late January.
Silver was flat at $24.08 per ounce, platinum rose 0.4% to $1,079.83, and palladium gained 0.8% to $2,367.09.
(Reporting by Bharat Govind Gautam in Bengaluru, Editing by Louise Heavens) ((BharatGovind.Gautam@thomsonreuters.com; +91-80-6182-3021/ 3590 (If within U.S. call 651-848-5832 );))