Gold Prices Rise Amid Tight Trading Ranges (Update 1)

Updated from 10:29 a.m. EDT with settlement prices

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Gold prices were slightly higher Wednesday as the yellow metal remained stuck in compressed trading ranges.

Gold for December delivery ticked up $3.20 to $1,616 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The gold price traded as high as $1,619.50 and as low as $1,605.90 an ounce, while the spot price was down $1.10, according to Kitco's gold index.

Chinese consumer price index and producer price index reports Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. EDT could give investors a gauge of inflation sentiment inside the country. A consensus of economists polled by Econoday expect July CPI to fall to 1.7% from June 2011's 2.2%. A dip in inflation would signal the possibility of more monetary easing from China's central bank.

"We bumped a little bit into the better half of this gold range, but we're still in it," said Stanley Dash, vice president of applied technical analysis at TradeStation Securities. "June was inside May, July was inside June -- meaning the ranges, inside bars or inside months the way technicians look at it -- and so far August is inside July. So we're just going through more and more range compression."

Silver prices for September delivery slipped 1 cent to settle at $28.08 an ounce, while the U.S. dollar index was gaining 0.09% to $82.39.

Gold remained flat Tuesday despite an interview with Boston Federal Reserve President Eric Rosengren that said the central banker was pushing for an aggressive, open-ended bond-buying program in response to the weakening U.S. economy.

Gold investors won't hear monetary policy announcements from the Fed until late August and from the European Central Bank until September, as this may keep gold in this compressed range for the next few weeks.

TradeStation's Dash said the recent technical trends may suggest investors are moving to the exits, which would be a sign of macro-economic optimism.

Gold also continued to display slight growth in tandem with strength of the U.S. dollar. The euro began was slipping against the dollar Wednesday to $1.235, down from the prior day of $1.24.

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