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Gold ticks up as traders look ahead to busy week of Fed speakers

20/03/17 - Investing.com -

Investing.com - Gold prices extended gains to a fourth session on Monday, as the U.S. dollar headed for its longest losing streak since November in wake of the Federal Reserve's dovish guidance on the future pace of rate hikes.

Comex gold futures jumped to a session peak of $1,235.50 a troy ounce, the highest since March 6. It was last at $1,231.75 by 9:15AM ET (13:15GMT), up $1.55, or around 0.1%.

Meanwhile, spot gold was up $2.70 at $1,232.25 per ounce.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback?s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down about 0.1% at 100.04 in New York morning trade. It fell to 99.86 earlier, the lowest since February 6.

The greenback has been on the retreat since the Fed raised interest rates on Wednesday last week, but stopped short of predicting a sharper acceleration in monetary tightening over the next two years.

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.

Market players will focus on a handful of Fed speakers in the week ahead, including Chair Janet Yellen on Thursday, as they look for more clues on the timing of the next U.S. rate hike.

Monday sees Chicago Fed President Charles Evans speak about current economic conditions and monetary policy at the National Association for Business Economics luncheon in New York at 1:10PM ET (17:10GMT).

Traders will also keep an eye out on U.S. housing data to gauge if a recent increase in consumer spending and inflation is translating into higher home prices and a pick-up in home sales.

Headlines from Washington will also be in focus, as traders await further details on President Donald Trump's promises of tax reform and infrastructure spending.

The House is expected to vote on a heath care bill Thursday, and if it passes that would be seen as a small step moving Congress closer to considering tax reform, though any legislation must also battle its way through the Senate.

Also on the Comex, silver futures for May delivery held steady at $17.41 a troy ounce.

Meanwhile, platinum added 0.3% to $966.25, while palladium held firm at $777.10 an ounce.

Elsewhere in metals trading, copper futures dipped 1.3 cents, or 0.4%, to $2.679 a pound.

Investors mulled headlines out of the G20 finance ministers meeting in Germany at the weekend to gauge the potential impact that trade barriers could have on global growth.

Financial leaders from the world's biggest economies reiterated their warnings against competitive devaluations and disorderly foreign exchange markets, but they failed to agree on a commitment to keep international trade free and open, highlighting a global shift towards protectionism.

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