MTECHTIPS;-Gold starts the week lower as traders weigh Fed rate hike

MTECHTIPS;-Gold starts the week lower as traders weigh Fed rate hike outlook

MTECHTIPS- Gold prices edged lower during European morning hours on Monday, as market players awaited further hints on the timing of the next U.S. rate hike. Gold for April delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange shed $3.35, or about 0.3%, to $1,235.75 a troy ounce by 3:15 AM ET (08:15 GMT). Trading activity was likely to stay light as markets in the U.S. remain closed for President’s Day on Monday. Cleveland Federal Reserve President Loretta Mester said in a speech in Singapore on Monday she would be “comfortable” raising interest rates at this point if the economy maintained its current pace of performance. Fed Chair Janet Yellen said last week that the U.S. central bank will likely need to raise interest rates at an upcoming meeting, although she flagged considerable uncertainty over economic policy under the Donald Trump administration. Global financial markets will focus on Wednesday’s minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting in the week ahead for more clues on the timing of the next U.S. rate hike. Market players 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. There are also a handful of Fed speakers this week, with Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashmir and Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Darker due to speak Tuesday, while Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart is scheduled for Thursday.

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