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.

Gold for April delivery settled up 0.15% at $1,229.00 on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Gold touched its highest since March 6 on Thursday, at $1,231.4 and ended the week with a gain of 1.92%.

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates to 1% on Wednesday; the second hike in three months and stuck to its outlook for two more rate hikes this year and three in 2018.

But the U.S. central bank did not flag any plan to speed up the pace of monetary tightening, with Fed Chair Janet 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.

Elsewhere in precious metals trading, silver was at $17.41 a troy ounce late Friday, and ended the week up 2.34%.

Platinum was up 0.77% to $965.80, while palladium added 1.29% to $776.52 an ounce.

Ahead of the coming week, has compiled a list of these and other significant events likely to affect the markets.


Monday, March 20

Financial markets in Japan will be closed for a holiday.

Canada is to release data on wholesale sales.

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans is to speak about current economic conditions and monetary policy at the National Association for Business Economics luncheon in New York.


Tuesday, March 21

The Reserve Bank of Australia is to publish the minutes of its latest monetary policy meeting, giving investors insight into how officials view the economy and their policy options.

The U.K. is to release a report on consumer price inflation.

Canada is to release figures on retail sales.

New York Fed President William Dudley, Kansas City Fed President Esther George and Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester are all due to make public appearances.


Wednesday, March 22

The National Association of Realtors is to release data on U.S. existing home sales for February.


Thursday, March 23

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand is to announce its benchmark interest rate and publish a policy statement which outlines economic conditions and the factors affecting the monetary policy decision.

The UK is to produce data on retail sales.

The US is to release the weekly report on jobless claims as well as data on new home sales.

Later, Fed Chair Janet Yellen is to deliver opening remarks at the Federal Reserve System Community Development Research Conference, in Washington DC.

Minnepolis Fed President Neel Kashkari at Strong Foundations Conference and Dallas Fed President Rob Kaplan are also on tap.


Friday, March 24

New Zealand is to report on the trade balance.

The euro zone is to publish survey data on private sector business activity.

Canada is to release inflation figures.

The U.S. is to round up the week with a report on durable goods orders.


Source: UK

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