The US dollar strengthened after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said on Friday an interest-rate increase is likely in coming months. Gold fell for the ninth day in a row, its longest losing streak in a year.
Yellen said that an improving American economy would probably warrant another rate increase “in the coming months,” a view expressed by several regional Fed chiefs in recent weeks, and Friday data showed growth picked up more than was previously estimated in the first quarter.
The dollar index, a measure of the US currency against a basket of global peers, extended gains, and was up 0.4 per cent on Monday at 95.913, a two-month high.
The precious metal fell as much as 1 percent to $1,200 an ounce, a level last seen in February as gold is sensitive to US interest rate expectations.
The Japanese yen dropped to one-month low after disappointing retail sales data out of Japan which suggested that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would likely delay a planned tax-hike.
The Japanese yen was down 0.6 per cent at an almost one-month low of ¥110.95 per dollar and had crossed through ¥111 for the first time since April 28.
The stronger US dollar has kept commodity prices under pressure. Brent crude, the international benchmark, was down 0.2 per cent at $49.23 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate, the US marker, was flat at $49.34. On June 2, OPEC members are due to meet, which may provide investors with additional details about a potential global production freeze. Last week, Brent traded above $50 a barrel for the first time since November.
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