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Commodities eye

Chinese demand propping up soft gold prices

TOKYO -- As speculation of an American interest rate hike puts downward pressure on the gold futures market, spot prices for the metal are getting a lift from active buying of bullion in China, resulting in a tug of war.

     The U.S. Federal Open Market Committee hinted at the possibility of a December rate hike in a statement after its meeting Wednesday. This sent gold futures down from around $1,175 per troy ounce to about $1,150 in off-hours trading Friday in New York. Still, the market was firmer than expected, said Koichiro Kamei, a financial and precious-metals analyst.

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