Gold prices flipped between gains and losses on Friday, before ending little changed as markets assessed the likelihood of an interest rate hike at the next Federal Reserve meeting September, following comments from the top two officials at the central bank.
Gold for December delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange inched up $1.30, or 0.1%, to settle at $1,325.90 a troy ounce by close of trade.
Despite Friday's modest gains, the yellow metal ended with a weekly loss of $20.30, or 1.5%, the biggest decline since mid-July.
However, she did not indicate when the Fed would act, saying that higher interest rates will depend on incoming economic data.
Speaking shortly afterwards, Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer said Yellen’s speech was“consistent” with expectations for possibly two more rate hikes this year, opening the door to a September hike. Fischer, the Fed's No. 2 policymaker, said the Labor Department's jobs report for August will likely weigh on the decision over a hike.
According to Investing.com's Fed Rate Monitor Tool, investors are pricing in a 33% chance of a rate hike by September. December odds were at around 60%.
The precious metal is sensitive to moves in U.S. rates, which lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion, while boosting the dollar in which it is priced.
The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, jumped to a daily peak of 95.58, the most since August 16. It ended the day at 95.48, up more than 0.8%, as investors began to price in a greater likelihood that the Fed will raise rates this year.
A stronger U.S. dollar usually weighs on gold, as it dampens the metal's appeal as an alternative asset and makes dollar-priced commodities more expensive for holders of other currencies.
Also on the Comex, silver futures for September delivery tacked on 16.2 cents, or 0.88%, on Friday to settle at $18.65 a troy ounce. On the week, silver declined 66.7 cents, or 3.45%, the fourth straight weekly loss.
Elsewhere in metals trading, copper for September delivery eased up 0.2 cents, or 0.1%, on Friday to end at $2.078 a pound. For the week, New York-traded copper prices sank 8.8 cents, or 4.25%, the biggest weekly loss in almost two months.
In the week ahead, investors will focus on U.S. economic reports to gauge if the world's largest economy is strong enough to withstand a hike in interest rates in the coming months, with Friday’s nonfarm payrolls data in the spotlight.
Elsewhere, in China, market players will be looking out for data on the country'smanufacturing sector, amid ongoing concerns over the health of the world's second biggest economy.
Ahead of the coming week, Investing.com has compiled a list of these and other significant events likely to affect the markets.