Gold retreated for the third session in a row on Thursday after comments from Federal Reserve officials suggested that a rate increase in June remained on the cards despite recent weak data.
Bullion pulled further away from a seven-week high reached on Monday that was spurred by hopes the Fed would delay a rate rise after last week’s disappointing U.S. jobs data.
A U.S. interest rate increase, which would be the first in nearly a decade, dims the appeal of non-interest-yielding assets such as gold.
“The near-term outlook for gold looks weak, with the path of least resistance lower,” said HSBC analyst James Steel.
Spot gold was down 0.5 percent at $1,196.30 an ounce at 0657 GMT after hitting a session low of $1,192.30. Bullion touched $1,224.10 on Monday, its highest since Feb. 17.
New York Fed President William Dudley and Fed Governor Jerome Powell on Wednesday sketched out scenarios in which the central bank could make an initial move earlier than many now expect and then proceed in a slow and gradual manner on further rate increases.
But while minutes of the Fed’s March 17-18 meeting showed it concluded with the Fed opening the door to a June rate rise, there was a divergence of views among policymakers, suggesting no consensus on the timing of a move.
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