Crude oil prices under renewed pressure after API Data

Gold Prices Lose Luster: Is the Recent Run-Up In Prices Over?

U.S. dollar surged strongly to the highest level over last three weeks after Yellen's optimistic comments related to the interest rate hike, and as history has it, a stronger dollar makes oil prices more costly for consumers using various currencies.

United States gold futures for April delivery were up $2.70 an ounce at $1,228.10 Among other precious metals, silver was down 0.2 percent at $17.92 an ounce, off the previous session's three-month high of $18.07, while platinum was down 0.2 percent at $998.80 an ounce.

At a recent US Senate hearing, Yellen opined that waiting to raise interest rates "would be unwise, potentially requiring the Fed to eventually raise rates rapidly". "The impact would probably show in the medium term", said Jiang Shu, chief analyst at Shandong Gold Group.

Volatility is a trend that bears watching, say gold experts, as gold prices are up 10% since mid-December, 2016 lows, but they are starting to veer downward in mid-February.

U.S. retail sales rose more than expected in January and consumer prices recorded their biggest gain in almost four years, boosting prospects of an interest rate increase from the Fed next month.

Despite the mostly upbeat USA economic data Wednesday, the US dollar index did back off its daily high and traded just below unchanged in afternoon dealings.

The WSJ Dollar Index was down 0.4% at 90.78, making dollar-priced assets like gold cheaper for holders of other. However, Yellen also noted the considerable uncertainty about economic policies during the Trump administration. "Reuters reported that 'spot gold had edged up 0.1 percent to $1,233.16 per ounce at 0053 GMT, while USA gold futures were up 0.1 percent at $1,234.6". "Of course, dollar weakness helps gold, but I am just wondering if investors are hedging towards the precious metal on account of lingering questions about whether the ongoing stock market rally can really continue". March Comex silver was last up $0.076 at $17.965 an ounce.

Palladium fell 0.2 per cent to US$788.00 per ounce, after touching its highest since Jan 24 at US$792.70 earlier in the session.

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