Gold prices rose to a one-week high on Thursday, as the U.S. dollar pulled back from its strongest level in more than a month, supporting demand for the yellow metal.
Gold for April delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange inched up $4.05, or about 0.3%, to $1,237.15 a troy ounce by 3:15AM ET (08:15GMT).
It rose to $1,238.00 during Asian hours, the strongest level since February 9. Prices gained $7.70, or about 0.6%, on Wednesday, snapping a four-session losing streak.
The dollar index was down around 0.2% at 100.92 in early London morning trade.
Upbeat U.S. inflation and retail sales data on Wednesday reinforced expectations of a near-term rate hike by the Federal Reserve, sending the index to 101.75, its strongest level since January 12.
On Tuesday, Fed Chair Janet Yellen raised market expectations for a March rate hike after saying it would be “unwise” for the central bank to wait too long. She did not give any additional insight on the timing of the Fed’s next rate hike in her second day of testimony to Congress on Wednesday.
Fed fund futures priced in around a 27% 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 74%.
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 data on weekly jobless claims, housing starts, building permits and Philadelphia Fed manufacturing, all due at 8:30AM ET (13:30GMT).
Also on the Comex, silver futures for March delivery inched up 2.4 cents, or 0.1%, to $17.98 a troy ounce.
Meanwhile, platinum gained 0.5% to $1,015.20, while palladium tacked on 0.4%, to $789.42 an ounce.
Elsewhere in metals trading, copper futures slipped 1.1 cents, or about 0.4%, to $2.729 a pound.
Prices of the red metal pulled back from a 20-month peak of $2.822 touched on Monday as talks renewed between striking workers and management at Chile’s Escondida copper mine.