By Bharat Gautam
(Reuters) - Gold prices retreated on Wednesday ahead of U.S. inflation data that could provide further direction on U.S. monetary policy after comments from the Federal Reserve chair lifted bullion in the last session.
The dollar recovered slightly, weighing on gold, but "we will have more direction after the release of U.S. Consumer Price Index data today," and if that meets expectations, gold will remain trapped in recent ranges, said Ricardo Evangelista, senior analyst at ActivTrades.
Further, "with the fizzling out of the fears of the impact of the Omicron variant, gold could lose some safe haven appeal," Evangelista added.
U.S. inflation data is due at 1330 GMT, with core CPI, which excludes food and energy prices, seen rising by 5.4%, its highest in decades and up from 4.9% in the prior month. That could seal the case for an early rise in interest rates.
What's going to be interesting as far as the impact on policymaking goes, with the Fed's focus likely shifting to employment from inflation, is the number on employment costs, StoneX analyst Rhona O'Connell said.
The dollar steadied above almost two-month lows against its major peers.
Weighing on gold, European shares rose, taking cues from overnight gains on Wall Street after Fed Chair Jerome Powell sounded less hawkish than expected in a Congressional testimony, and allayed market fears for a sudden withdrawal of monetary support. [.EU] [MKTS/GLOB]
Spot silver was down 0.3% to $22.70 an ounce, platinum was steady at $970.55 and palladium edged up 0.2% to $1,924.57.
(Reporting by Bharat Govind Gautam in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Potter)
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