MTECHTIPS;-Gold prices gain slightly in Asia, all eyes on Fed

MTECHTIPS;-Gold prices gain slightly in Asia, all eyes on Fed

MTECHTIPS-Gold prices rose slightly in Asia on Monday with the focus ahead on Fed policymaker comments this week. Gold for April delivery inched up 0.02% to $1,230.40 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Copper was last quoted at $2.680 a pound with operations at key mines in Indonesia and Chile in focus as talks on regulations and wages respectively continue. The market this week awaits Fed speakers, including Chair Janet Yellen, as they look for more clues on the timing of the next U.S. rate hike and also eye data on inflation from the UK and euro zone surveys on business activity as Britain braces for Brexit. Markets in Japan are shut on Monday for a holiday. Last week, gold prices rose on Friday as expectations of a slower pace of U.S. interest rates hikes than some investors had anticipated continued to weigh on the dollar. But the U.S. central bank did not flag any plan to speed up the pace of monetary tightening, with Yellen reiterating that the pace of rate hikes would be gradual. Expectations for a slower pace of monetary tightening pressured the dollar to five week lows against a basket of the other major currencies. 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.
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