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Gold Under Pressure As Fed's Yellen Backs Gradual Rate Hikes

Gold prices edged down on Thursday on a strong dollar after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen advocated lifting U.S. interest rates gradually. Spot gold was down 0.1 percent to $1,202 per ounce by 0335 GMT, after dropping to as much as $1,197.31. The bullion hit an eight-week high of $1,218.64 on Tuesday.

U.S. gold futures had fallen as much as over 1 percent to $1,197.10. The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, rose 0.3 percent to 101.200. "There is no change in Fed's stance about rate hikes, which is in line with market expectations," said Mark To, head of research at Hong Kong's Wing Fung Financial Group.

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With the U.S. economy close to full employment and inflation headed toward the Federal Reserve's 2 percent goal, it "makes sense" for the U.S. central bank to gradually lift interest rates, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said on Wednesday. Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan on Wednesday joined the chorus of central bank officials making a case for a gradual hike in U.S. interest rates.

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