CHICAGO, March 31: Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange fell sharply yesterday as the Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen signaled that an interest rate hike may happen later this year.
The most active gold contract for June delivery fell 15.4 U.S. dollars, or 1.28 percent, to settle at 1,185.30 dollars per ounce.
During a speech at San Francisco Fed conference last Friday, Yellen said that an increase in the Fed's interest rate "may well be warranted later this year" given sustained improvement of economic conditions, putting gold under extensive pressure. It would be the first interest rate since 2006.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback against six major peers, was up 0.72 percent at 97.991 in late trading. A stronger greenback would hurt the appeal of dollar-denominated gold.
Meanwhile, gold was also weighed by the better-than-expected economic data. The U.S. Department of Commerce said on Monday that personal income growth increased by 0.4 percent after 0.4-percent growth in January.
Silver for May delivery decreased 39.5 cents, or 2.31 percent, to close at 16.674 dollars per ounce. Platinum for July delivery fell 23.1 dollars, or 2.03 percent, to close at 1,117.40 dollars per ounce. ?Agencies