NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Spot gold prices were edging higher around midday Wednesday after evincing some dullness earlier this week on restored confidence in the U.S. dollar and renewed interest in the currencies and treasuries.

Furthermore, China's interest-rate hike this week sparked some worries that the move would lead to a degree of lessening of interest in the yellow metal. Nevertheless, long-time gold watchers such as BullionVault's head of research Adrian Ash remained undaunted. "The baby-step rate hike doesn't unwind that driver of gold investment for China's massive household savings," Ash said in a research note.

"The real-rate imperative to buy gold remains strong," he went on. "And with India's festival season running into the Chinese New Year between now and February, pullbacks like we got Tuesday are likely to meet good physical bids in Asian trade." On Wednesday around noon, the dollar index was down by 1.4% to $77.11.

New York spot gold prices were up by $7, or 0.5%, to $1,342.30 an ounce Wednesday afternoon.
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New York spot silver prices were rising by 45 cents, or 1.9%, to $23.82.
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New York spot platinum prices were advancing by $18, or 1.1%, to $1,679 an ounce, while its sister metal, also a key element in auto catalyst production, moved higher.

New York spot palladium prices were popping by $15, or 2.6%, to $585 an ounce.

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A group of mining stocks and precious metals ETFs were advancing Wednesday afternoon. Mining stocks offer another form of exposure to precious metals.

Silvercorp ( SVM - Get Report) was gaining 3.9% to $8.99 as Stillwater Mining ( SWC) rose by 4.2% to $16.29. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold ( FCX - Get Report) was higher by 2.9% to $95.41. North American Palladium ( PAL) was up 1.8% to $4.43.

ETFS Physical Platinum Shares ( PPLT - Get Report) was up 1% to $167.27 and ETFS Physical Palladium Shares ( PALL - Get Report) was rising by 3.2% to $58.47.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

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