Gold prices fall on strong dollar

Gold prices dipped on Thursday, pulled down as the dollar remained strong following comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell that fanned concerns of faster-than-expected hikes in U.S. interest rates.

Spot gold was 0.2-percent lower at $1,315.36 an ounce at 0106 GMT. Prices have fallen about 1 percent so far this week.

U.S. gold futures were down 0.1 percent at $1,316.7 per ounce.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of major currencies, was up 0.1 percent at 90.716. It had earlier touched its highest since Jan. 19 at 90.744.

The U.S. currency, which in February recorded its best monthly performance since November 2016, has been bolstered by Powell’s hawkish stance on the U.S. economy that fueled expectations of interest rates being raised four times this year rather than three.

On Thursday, Powell will deliver more testimony in front of the Senate Banking Committee.

Asian stocks skidded on Thursday after Powell’s comments rekindled fears about the pace of U.S. monetary tightening this year.

U.S. economic growth slowed slightly more than initially thought in the fourth quarter after the strongest pace of consumer spending in three years depleted inventories and drew in imports as businesses struggled to produce enough goods and services.

Euro zone inflation slowed to a 14-month low in February, underlining the European Central Bank’s caution in removing stimulus despite growth exceeding expectations and the bloc’s economy seeming to be on its best footing in a decade.

February sales of U.S. Mint American Eagle gold coins fell 80 percent from the same month a year earlier, the slowest February sales in 11 years, while February silver coin sales fell to the lowest since 2008, government data showed on Wednesday.

South Africa’s new mining minister Gwede Mantashe said on Wednesday he will finalize the latest version of an industry charter which lays out requirements for black ownership levels and other targets in the next three months.

India regained its status as the world’s fastest growing major economy in the October-December quarter, surpassing China for the first time in a year as government spending, manufacturing and services all picked up.

Source: Reuters