Global gold prices edge up, but gains limited by Fed Reserve’s rate hike prospects

Gold prices edged up in a technical rebound on Monday after one-month highs hit last week were undercut by the prospects of more interest rate hikes from the US Federal Reserve.
Spot gold edged 0.2% higher to $1,174.91 an ounce by 9.02am. Gold gained nearly 2% last week, its biggest weekly rise since early November, although it fell back on Friday as Fed officials commented on data that pointed to an improving US economy.
US gold futures were also up 0.2% on Monday at $1,175.40 per ounce. “Some kind of rebound in gold prices is still in place,” said Mark To, head of research at Hong Kong’s Wing Fung Financial Group. “However, the impact of monetary police changes like rising US interest rates will be felt gradually and the quick rebound in gold price should be finished.”
Spot gold is still up nearly 5% from mid-December after touching 10-month lows that sparked higher demand on the physical side.
Spot gold may retest a resistance at $1,182 per ounce, a break above which could open the way towards $1,219 an ounce, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.
US employment increased less than expected in December but a rebound in wages pointed to sustained labour market momentum that sets up the economy for stronger growth and the prospect of 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.
Evans and other regional Fed presidents are scheduled to speak this week, and the outlook for U.S. rates may become even clearer when Chair Janet Yellen appears at a webcast town hall meeting with educators on Thursday.
“As long as the US economic data is good, people are expecting rate hikes to be more hawkish and short gold at $1,200 levels,” To said.
Expectations of US interest rate hikes lowers demand for the non-interest-paying bullion.
Hedge funds and money managers cut their bullish positions in COMEX gold contracts for the eighth straight week in the week to 3 January, taking their holdings to the smallest in 11 months, US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data showed on Friday.
Among other precious metals, silver shed 0.1% to $16.46 an ounce and platinum gained 0.1% at $968.24.
Palladium was up 0.6% at 760.50 an ounce, after hitting its highest in more than a month at $763.10 earlier in the session.
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