Gold extends its retreat

30 March, 2017

Gold prices edged lower for a third straight session on Thursday, adding to their decline from a one-month high reached at the start of the week as the dollar strengthened amid expectations for more U.S. interest rate hikes this year.Comex gold futures dipped $3.20, or around 0.3%, to $1,250.50 a troy ounce by 3:00AM ET (07:00GMT). Meanwhile, spot gold was down $2.50 at $1,251.10.Gold hit its strongest since February 27 at $1,264.20 on Monday.Also on the Comex, silver futures for May delivery shed 6.4 cents, or about 0.4%, to $18.18 a troy ounce. In the previous session, the metal touched its highest since March 2 at $18.27.The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was at 99.86 in London morning trade.It rose to an overnight high of 99.99, extending a bounce off a four-and-a-half month low of 98.67 touched on Monday.The greenback was boosted by hawkish comments from a number of Federal Reserve officials on Wednesday, including Chicago Fed President Charles Evans and San Francisco Fed President John Williams.There are three more Fed speakers on the calendar for Thursday. New York Fed chief William Dudley is expected to be the most important, with a 4:30PM ET discussion on financial conditions and monetary policy.San Francisco Fed President Williams speaks at 11AM ET, while Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan speaks at 3PM in New York.On the data front, investors will have initial jobless claims and the final look at fourth quarter GDP, both released at 8:30AM ET.The Fed raised interest rates earlier this month and stuck to its outlook for two more hikes this year.Fed fund futures priced in around a 50% chance of a rate hike in June, according to’s Fed Rate Monitor Tool. Odds of a September increase was seen at about 70%.The precious metal is sensitive to moves in U.S. rates, which lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion. A gradual path to higher rates is seen as less of a threat to gold prices than a swift series of increases.Headlines from Washington will also be in focus, as traders await further details on President Donald Trump's promises of tax reform following the House's failure to vote on a plan to replace Obamacare last week.Elsewhere in metals trading, platinum tacked on 0.4% to $959.70, while palladium declined 0.3% to $787.62 an ounce.May copper futures dropped 1.4 cents, or 0.5%, to $2.662 a pound.

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