MTECHTIPS:-Gold plunges 1% as markets look to this week’s Fed speakers, U.S. data

MTECHTIPS:-Gold plunges 1% as markets look to this week’s Fed speakers, U.S. data

MTECHTIPS-Gold prices were sharply lower in North American trade on Monday, as investors looked ahead to comments from key Fed officials and a raft of U.S. economic data in the week ahead for further signs of the central bank’s likely rate hike trajectory through the end of the year. Comex gold futures were at $1,241.63 a troy ounce by 5:10 AM ET (0910 GMT), down around 1.2%. Meanwhile, spot gold was at $1,240.86. It plunged by as much as 1.7% in thin overnight trade to as low as $1,236.53, a level not seen since May 16. Also on the Comex, silver futures slumped 19.7 cents, or roughly 1.2%, to $16.45 a troy ounce, after hitting its lowest since May 11 at $16.26. Market players are expected to pay close attention to comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Tuesday, as they look for more hints on the timing of the next U.S. rate hike and clues on how the central bank plans to pare back its balance sheet. Traders will also keep an eye out on a final reading of U.S. first-quarter economic growth due on Thursday for further evidence on the health of the world’s biggest economy. Besides the GDP report, this week’s calendar also features U.S. data on durable goods orders, consumer confidence, pending home sales, weekly jobless claims as well as personal income and spending, which includes the personal consumption expenditures inflation data, the Fed’s preferred metric for inflation

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