Gold little changed near 4-week highs in holiday-thinned trade

Commodities & Futures
© Reuters.  Gold little changed near 4-week highs© Reuters. Gold little changed near 4-week highs – Gold prices were little changed near a four-week high in North American hours on Monday, with holidays in the U.S., U.K. and China slowing trading activity around the world.

Comex shed $ 1.40, or about 0.1%, to $ 1,266.69 a troy ounce by 8:15AM ET (1215GMT). Meanwhile, was at $ 1,266.91.

Prices of the yellow metal ended Friday’s session up almost 1%, after touching its strongest since May 1 at $ 1,269.30.

Also on the Comex, tacked on 5.9 cents, or around 0.3%, to $ 17.38 a troy ounce. It rose to $ 17.40 in overnight trade, a level not seen since April 28.

Trading volumes were likely to remain light with U.S. markets closed Monday for Memorial Day while the U.K. is also shuttered for a public holiday.

Market players are looking ahead to U.S. employment report on Friday for further signs of the Federal Reserve’s likely rate hike trajectory through the end of the year.

Besides the monthly jobs report, this week’s holiday-shortened calendar also features U.S. data on manufacturing and service sector growth, consumer confidence, auto sales, personal spending, core PCE inflation, as well as monthly trade figures.

Futures traders are currently pricing in around an 80% chance of a hike at the Fed’s June 13-14 meeting, according to’s .

However, market players are no longer convinced that the Fed will be able to raise rates two more times this year, with odds for a second hike by December currently at about 35%.

The median Fed policymaker forecast is for two more rate increases by year-end. But a recent run of disappointing U.S. economic data combined with signs of deepening political turmoil in the White House raised doubts over the Fed’s ability to raise rates as much as it would like before the end of the year.

The precious metal is sensitive to moves in U.S. rates, which lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion. A gradual path to higher rates is seen as less of a threat to gold prices than a swift series of increases.

The against a basket of the other major currencies on Monday, holding well above last week’s more than six-month lows ().

Investors appear to have shrugged off any geopolitical worries stemming from yet another on Monday.

North Korea fired what appeared to be a short-range ballistic missile that landed in the sea off its east coast, South Korea’s military said.

It was the ninth missile the hermit state has tested this year, as it faces increasing pressure from the U.S. and historical ally China over its missile testing program.

Elsewhere in metals trading, shed 0.3% to $ 959.80, while added 0.7% to $ 792.27 an ounce.

futures inched up 0.2 cents to $ 2.568 a pound.

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