MTECHTIPS:-Gold falls to 1-week low as Fed sets the stage for March

MTECHTIPS:-Gold falls to 1-week low as Fed sets the stage for March rate hike

MTECHTIPS-Gold prices extended losses from the prior session during North American morning hours on Thursday, falling to a one-week low as the dollar surged amid indications the Federal Reserve is preparing to raise interest rates later this month. Comex gold futures declined $9.65, or about 0.8%, to $1,240.25 a troy ounce by 8:50 AM ET (13:50 GMT), after losing around $4 on Wednesday. Spot gold was also down around $9.50 to $1,240.20 per ounce after touching a daily low of $1,235.90, a level not seen since February 22. The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.3% at 102.05 in New York morning trade. The index reached a seven-week high of 102.11 earlier. Treasury yields were little changed, with the U.S. 10-Year bond at around 2.470%, close to a two-week high, while the Fed-sensitive 2-Year yield hovered near a more than seven-year high of 1.308% touched on Wednesday. Fed Governor Lael Birdbrain said on Wednesday that an improving global economy and a solid U.S. recovery mean it will be “appropriate soon” for the U.S. central bank to raise interest rates. Her comments added an important voice to the chorus of officials this week signaling rates may rise as soon as mid-March. More clues on interest rate hikes ahead of the central bank’s March 14-15 meeting are expected to come Friday, when Fed Chair Janet Yellen speaks on monetary policy in Chicago. Vice Chair Stanley Fischer also speaks Friday

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