Gold Eases Below $1215 as Dollar Firms

Gold steadied below a seven-week high on Tuesday as the dollar regained momentum, although uncertainty about the timing of a U.S. interest rate hike kept bullion above $1,200 an ounce.  Friday’s bleak U.S. non-farm payrolls data fuelled expectations that the Federal Reserve could delay an anticipated rate increase this year, boosting gold’s safe-haven appeal. U.S. jobs posted the slowest growth in more than a year in March.

New York Fed President William Dudley said the timing of the U.S. rate hike, which would be the first in nearly a decade, is unclear and policymakers must watch that the U.S. economy’s surprising recent weakness does not signal a more substantial slowdown.  “We haven’t changed our expectation of a mid-year rate hike but the weak number we had on Friday certainly eschews the risk towards more of a later rather than an earlier hike,” said Victor Thianpiriya, analyst at Australia and New Zealand Bank.

Spot gold was nearly flat at $1,213.80 an ounce at 0243 GMT, after hitting a session high of $1,224.10 on Monday, its loftiest since Feb. 17.  U.S. gold for June delivery slipped 0.4 percent to $1,214.20 an ounce.