Gold held steady on Wednesday but was set for its first monthly drop since December as U.S. economic data boosted the case for an interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve next month.      

U.S. consumer spending recorded its biggest increase in four months in April and monthly inflation rebounded, pointing to improving domestic demand that could allow the Fed to raise interest rates next month.                 

Spot gold was almost flat at $1,262.90 per ounce at 0757 GMT after slipping earlier in the day. It closed 0.3 percent lower on Tuesday after rising to a one-month high of $1,270.47. For the month, bullion is down 0.4 percent.    

U.S. gold futures were unchanged at $1,261.80.    

“Gold moved in a pretty tight range… Traders are waiting on the sidelines ahead of the U.S. employment and non-farm payroll data due on Friday,” said Luke Chua, chief operating officer at BullionStar Singapore.

A U.S. rate hike is probably coming soon though the Federal Reserve may want to delay if inflation remains soft, Fed governor Lael Brainard said on Tuesday.                  

Interest rate futures on Tuesday indicated a nearly 89 percent chance of a June hike, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool.     

Higher rates would reduce the demand for non-interest bearing bullion as well as boosting the U.S. dollar in which gold is priced.     

Political tensions in the United States and Europe continue to support gold and have prevented any major losses for the metal, said Yuichi Ikemizu, Tokyo branch manager at ICBC Standard Bank.    

British Prime Minister Theresa May could lose control of parliament in June 8 election, according to a projection by polling company YouGov.             

In Italy, the 5-Star Movement voted over the weekend in favour of a proportional electoral system, raising the chances of an unprecedented autumn parliamentary election.

Spot gold may break a support at $1,257 per ounce and fall to the next support at $1,245, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

Source: UK Reuters 

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