Gold prices were little changed in European morning trade on Wednesday, as investors looked ahead to a batch of U.S. economic data and more comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen for further clues on the pace of the central bank’s interest rate increases.

Gold for April delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange inched up $1.65, or about 0.2%, to $1,227.05 a troy ounce by 4:10AM ET (09:10GMT), after losing 40 cents a day earlier.

The yellow metal was on the backfoot after Fed Chair Yellen left the door open to an interest rate increase at the central bank’s March policy meeting.

In testimony to the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, Yellen said that waiting too long to raise interest rates would be “unwise” as economic growth continues and inflation rises.

Investors raised their outlook on a faster pace of U.S. rate increases following her comments.

Fed fund futures priced in around a 20% chance of a rate hike in March, according to Investing.com’s Fed Rate Monitor Tool, up from less than 10% at the start of the week. Odds of a June increase was seen at around 70%.

Yellen is scheduled to appear before the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee at 10:00AM ET (15:00 GMT) on Wednesday. The Fed has previously indicated that it could hike rates three times this year.

The precious metal is sensitive to moves in U.S. rates, which lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion, while boosting the dollar in which it is priced.

On the data front, the U.S. will publish January inflation figures at 8:30AM ET (13:30GMT) Wednesday. Market analysts expect consumer prices to ease up 0.3%, while core inflation is forecast to increase 0.2%.

On a yearly base, core CPI is projected to climb 2.1%. The Fed usually tries to aim for 2% core inflation or less. Rising inflation would be a catalyst to push the U.S. central bank toward raising interest rates.

At the same time, the U.S. will also publish data on January retail sales, amid expectations for a gain of 0.1% last month, after rising 0.6% in December.

Besides the inflation and retail sales reports, Wednesday’s calendar also features U.S. data on industrial production and a survey on manufacturing conditions in the New York region.

The dollar index was up around 0.2% at 101.40 in early London morning hours. It rose to 101.43 earlier, its strongest level since January 20.

Also on the Comex, silver futures for March delivery was little changed at $17.89 a troy ounce, after rising to a three-month high of $18.09 on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, platinum was flat at $1,001.95, while palladium was steady at $781.25 an ounce.

Source: UK Investing.com