Gold prices held steady early on Friday after hitting four-week lows in the previous session when the dollar slipped ahead of a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen that will be closely watched for clues on U.S. interest rate policy.
Spot gold edged higher 0.1 percent at $1,323 an ounce at 0059 GMT. The metal touched a more than 4-week low of $1,317.46 on Thursday. U.S. gold was up 0.1 percent at $1,326.10 an ounce. Market players are hoping Yellen will give a clearer signal on the path of U.S. interest rate hikes when she addresses a meeting of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, at 1400 GMT.
Top Federal Reserve officials on Thursday defended their view that the U.S. central bank should probably raise interest rates soon, saying that they still intended to keep the economy running fast enough to boost employment and inflation. A couple of Fed officials at an annual conference on monetary policy made renewed a push for rate increases, citing improvement in employment and inflation.
Data showed new orders for U.S. manufactured capital goods rose for a second straight month in July, while another report showed an unexpected drop in the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits last week. * The dollar remained on tenterhooks on Friday. The dollar index, which gauges the greenback against a basket of six major counterparts, edged down 0.2 percent to 94.622.
Rising U.S. interest rates increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion and boost the dollar, in which gold is priced. Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.19 percent to 956.59 tonnes on Thursday.
Russia and Kazakhstan continued to boost their gold reserves in July, data from the International Monetary Fund showed on Thursday. Top consumer China’s net gold imports via main conduit Hong Kong rose 28.6 percent in July, data showed on Thursday.