Gold and silver spiked as the dollar weakened on Thursday (2 February) after dovish comments on US monetary policy by the Federal Reserve.

At 3:38pm GMT, the Comex gold futures contract for April delivery was 1.18% or $14.30 higher at $1,222.60 an ounce, while spot gold was up 0.85% or $10.30 at $1,220.14 an ounce, well clear of the psychologically important $1,200-level.

Concurrently, Comex silver was 0.95% or 17 cents higher at $17.62 an ounce, while spot platinum was 0.30% or $2.99 higher at $1,001.94 an ounce.

While keeping interest rates unchanged, the Fed said it "expects that, with gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace. Near-term risks to the economic outlook appear roughly balanced."

Away from the precious metals market, oil futures headed lower but remained within recent range as traders attempt to reconcile lower production from Opec versus expectations of rising US production.

At 3:43pm GMT, the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) front month futures contract was down by 0.67% or 36 cents to $53.52 per barrel, while Brent was 0.53% or 30 cents lower at $56.50 per barrel.

Overnight, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said the country's crude inventories climbed by 6.5 million barrels for the week ending 27 January, raising stockpiles up to 494.8 million barrels.

The EIA also noted that refinery crude runs declined by 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) to average around 15.9m bpd with refineries operating at 88.2%; a 0.1% decrease from the week before.

Analysts at Vienna-based JBC Energy said: "Oil has continued to trade in a relatively narrow range for two months now, with the front month prices of crude benchmarks in a bandwidth of $53 to $57.50 per barrel for Brent, and $50 to $54 per barrel for Nymex WTI.

"Overnight, oil prices tested the upper limit of this range, likely on the back of evidence of high compliance with supply cuts amongst OPEC and other producers. However, these were capped by further inventory growth in the US, with the latest crude and gasoline weekly builds exceeding initial expectations (+6.5 and 3.9 million barrels w-o-w respectively)."

However, the analysts added that with data now coming out for the first month affected by the Opec and non-Opec output cuts, it appears fairly safe to assume that compliance with the pledged reduction has been relatively high.

Finally, the US pork industry was forced to deny reports that the country was on the brink of a bacon shortage caused by depleting supplies of pork belly reserves.

A spokesperson for the US Department of Agriculture said the pork market was unlikely to be in deficit for 2017, with the country's production tipped to rise by 2.5% to 3% on an annualised basis as additional farming capacity would feed into the supply chain.