- Gold prices ticked up smartly in Asia early on Monday as the dollar slightly retraced last week''s gains.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for June delivery traded at $1,296.70 a troy ounce, up 0.19%.

Gold ended Friday’s session down 0.04%, or 50 cents, to settle at $1,294.30 an ounce, ending the week with a loss of 3.03%, or $40.50, the second consecutive weekly decline.

The Commerce Department reported Friday that U.S. consumer spending rose 0.3% last month after a downwardly revised gain of 0.2% in January

A separate report showed that the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index slipped to 80.0 in March, down from 81.6 the month before. It was higher than the preliminary March reading of 79.9 but below forecasts of 80.5.

Gold has been under heavy selling pressure in recent sessions amid growing expectations that the Fed will raise interest rates sooner than expected.

Market watchers brought forward expectations for a rate increase by U.S. central bank after Fed Chair Janet Yellen suggested that a rate hike might come about six months after the bank’s stimulus program ends, which is expected to happen in the fall.

In the week ahead, investors will be looking to Friday’s U.S. nonfarm payrolls report for March for further indications on the strength of the labor market and the need for stimulus.

Data from the Commodities Futures Trading Commission released Friday showed that hedge funds and money managers decreased their bullish bets in gold futures in the week ending March 25.

Net longs totaled 120,042 contracts, down 13.3% from net longs of 138,429 in the preceding week.

Elsewhere on the Comex, silver for May delivery traded at $19.830 a troy ounce, up 0.20%.

Copper for May delivery traded at $3.045 a pound, up 0.18%, on expectations that China’s government is prepared to do more to shore up the cooling economy after China''s premier Li Keqiang said the country has policies in place to counter economic volatility.

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