January 9, 2016
Gold Under Pressure on US Rate Hike Prospects
(Reuters) - Gold prices were little changed early on Monday, after dipping from a one-month high last week on expectations of further interest rate hikes, with investor attention on more views from the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Spot gold was steady at $1,173.06 an ounce by 0047 GMT. The metal rose nearly two percent last week, its biggest weekly percentage rise since early November.
U.S. gold futures were unchanged at $1,173.80 per ounce.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, edged 0.1 percent higher at 102.27.
U.S. employment increased less than expected in December but a rebound in wages pointed to sustained labor market momentum that sets up the economy for stronger growth and further interest rate increases this year.
Chicago Federal Reserve President Charles Evans said on Friday the central bank could raise interest rates three times this year, faster than he had expected just a few months ago and in line with the majority of his colleagues.
The outlook for U.S. rates may become a little clearer when Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen appears at a webcast town hall meeting with educators on Thursday.
Two regional Fed presidents will speak later Monday, and there are no less than five speeches lined up for Thursday. The main economic release of the week is not until Friday, when retail sales figures for December are out.
Hedge funds and money managers cut their bullish position in COMEX gold contracts for the eighth straight week in the week to Jan. 3, taking it to the smallest in 11 months, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data showed on Friday.
Gold demand in Asia gathered some steam last week on wedding season purchases in India, with prices swinging to a premium there for the first time in over a month, and traders expecting demand to strengthen due to the upcoming Chinese New Year.
Canada's Eldorado Gold said on Friday it has indefinitely shelved expansion plans for its Kisladag mine in Turkey and deferred a decision on developing a project in Brazil, citing lower gold prices.