Gold prices fell as the dollar gained on Tuesday, with investors waiting for clues on the timing of any increase in U.S. interest rates from minutes of a Federal Reserve meeting and in a series of speeches by Fed officials this week.

The heads of five regional U.S. Fed branches are scheduled to speak this week. In addition, Fed Board Governor Jerome Powell speaks on Wednesday, when minutes of the last policy meeting are also due.

Spot gold fell 0.4 percent to $1,233.21 per ounce by 0550 GMT, while U.S. gold futures lost 0.4 percent, at $1,234.60.

“People are awaiting direction from the minutes of the last FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) meeting. If it offers any significant indication that the Fed can raise rates in the next meeting, there will be a negative impact on gold,” said Hareesh V, head of research at Geofin Comtrade Ltd. “Otherwise, prices can go higher again because of global uncertainty.”

Gold is highly-sensitive to rising U.S. interest rates, as it increases the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion, while also boosting the dollar.

The dollar index was up 0.2 percent at 101.16 as of 0616 GMT.

“Fed chief Janet Yellen recently signalled that the U.S. economy was prepared for an early increase in key interest rates. Economic data confirming this assessment will put a strain on the gold price in the coming weeks and months,” Heraeus Metal Management said in a note.

Political uncertainty including lingering doubts over U.S. President Donald Trump‘s policies and the potential impact on the Fed’s strategy, as well as elections in France and Netherlands, has offered broad support for the yellow metal, which has risen about 7 percent this year.

“We anticipate that the generally positive sentiment in the gold market remains intact,” analysts at Heraeus said.

Source: Yahoo! Finance

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