Fed Chair Janet Yellen speak on workforce development challenges in low-income communities.


profitaddaweb.com-Gold prices were little changed during North American morning hours on Tuesday, holding near its strongest level in a month as market players awaited comments from a number of Federal Reserve policymakers later in the day for more clues on the timing of the next U.S. rate hike.

gold futures tacked on $1.00, or less than 0.1%, to $1,256.75 a troy ounce by 8:15AM ET (12:15GMT). Meanwhile, spot gold was up $2.50 at $1,257.00. The yellow metal settled higher for the second session in a row on Monday after hitting its strongest since February 27 at $1,261.00.

Tuesday sees Fed Chair Janet Yellen speak on workforce development challenges in low-income communities at 9:50AM ET (13:50GMT). Kansas City Fed President Esther George, Dallas Fed President Rob Kaplan and Fed Governor Jerome Powell are also on tap Tuesday. On the data front, the U.S. will release a report on consumer confidence for March at 10AM ET (14:00GMT).

The Fed raised interest rates earlier this month, but stuck to its outlook for two more hikes this year, instead of three expected by the market. Fed fund futures priced in around a 45% chance of a rate hike in June, according to Fed Rate Monitor Tool. Odds of a September increase was seen at about 70%.

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 U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was at 99.00 in New York morning trade, not far from Monday's four-and-a-half month low of 98.67. Headlines from Washington will also be in focus, as traders await further details on President Donald Trump's promises of tax reform following the House's failure to vote on a plan to replace Obamacare late last week.

Also on copper futures dropped 0.4 cents, or 0.2%, to $2.628 a pound.