Gold prices fell on Wednesday as positive economic data from the United States backed expectations of further interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve this year, prompting the dollar to bounce back from multi-month lows.
* Spot gold was down 0.2 percent at $1,248.60 per ounce, as of 0119 GMT. U.S. gold futures slipped 0.6 percent to $1,248.2.
* The dollar pulled away from 4-1/2-month lows against a currency basket on Wednesday as solid data backed expectations for more U.S. interest rate hikes this year.
* Reinforcing rate hike expectations, U.S. consumer confidence index hit 125.6 in March, surpassing expectations for a reading of 114 and much higher than 116.1 in February. The March level marked the highest since December 2000.
* U.S. Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer also gave the dollar a lift as he said in a television interview that two more increases to U.S. overnight interest rates this year seemed “about right.”
* President Donald Trump told a group of senators on Tuesday that he expects lawmakers to be able to reach a deal on healthcare.
* Since Trump’s election, Fed officials have debated how his campaign promises may change an economy many policymakers feel is on a sturdy course.
* The collapse of the healthcare overhaul effort on Friday has, if anything, made the U.S. central bank’s job harder as it tries to tease out what set of policies may make it through Congress.
* The faltering campaign of French presidential candidate Francois Fillon suffered another setback on Tuesday when magistrates placed his wife under formal investigation over allegations that he paid her for a fake parliamentary job.
* Prime Minister Theresa May will file formal Brexit divorce papers on Wednesday, pitching the United Kingdom into the unknown and triggering years of uncertain negotiations that will test the endurance of the European Union.
* More partnership deals are likely in the gold industry as miners start investing in new projects again but are keen to lower the risk, analysts said after Goldcorp Inc and Barrick Gold Corp’s announced a 50-50 joint venture in Chile.
* Gold bullion investment will rise for the fourth straight year in 2017 as global political and economic factors are forecast to maintain buying interest, CPM Group said on Tuesday.
* Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust , the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.21 percent to 833.51 tonnes on Tuesday.