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Gold slips as rate hike jitters offset debt deal relief

Investing.com -- Gold prices fell on Monday, extending three weeks of losses as strong inflation readings boosted the dollar and ramped up expectations of more interest rate hikes by the Fed, while fears of a U.S. debt default eased.

U.S. lawmakers said over the weekend that they had reached an “in principle” deal to raise the U.S. spending limit for two years, potentially warding off a default ahead of a June deadline.

The news helped ease some fears of the widespread economic disruption stemming from a U.S. default, spurring gains in risk-driven assets. This in turn weighed on gold, which usually works as a safe haven in times of economic duress.

The yellow metal also faced more pressure from a stronger dollar amid renewed focus on the Federal Reserve, as data on Friday showed the Personal Consumption Expenditures index - the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge - rose more than expected in April, indicating sticky inflationary conditions in the country.

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Spot gold fell 0.2% to $1,942.24 an ounce, while gold futures expiring in August fell 0.2% to $1,959.85 an ounce by 20:12 ET (00:12 GMT). Both instruments were trading near two-month lows after tumbling from record highs hit earlier in May.

The dollar strengthened further past two-month highs hit last week on Monday, pressuring metal prices as markets began positioning for a 25 basis point hike by the Fed in June. Fed Fund futures prices show markets pricing in a nearly 65% chance of a hike in June, a stark reversal from sentiment seen last week.

The prospect of rising interest rates bodes poorly for non-yielding assets such as gold, given that it increases the opportunity cost of holding such assets.

The Fed had signaled a data-driven approach to future rate hikes during its May meeting. With inflation seemingly rising through April, the central bank may now consider more hikes.

Easing economic risks from a potential debt default also gives the central bank more headroom to keep raising rates, presenting a weak outlook for gold in the near-term.

Other precious metals moved in a flat-to-low range on Monday. Platinum futures fell 0.1%, while silver rose 0.2%.

Among industrial metals, copper prices hovered above seven-month lows after marking a sharp rebound over the past two sessions. But the outlook for the red metal remained dour amid worsening global manufacturing conditions, as well as potentially weakening demand in major market China.

Copper futures were flat at $3.6733 a pound.

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