Investing.com - Silver prices fell to a six-week low on Monday, while gold extended sharp losses from the previous week amid expectations that the Federal Reserve could hike interest rates earlier than previously thought.
On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, silver for May delivery fell to a session low of $20.10 a troy ounce, the weakest level since February 12.
Silver last traded at $20.19 a troy ounce during European morning hours, down 0.56%, or 11.3 cents.
Silver ended Friday’s session down 0.59%, or 12.0 cents, to settle at $20.31 an ounce. Futures were likely to find support at $20.08 a troy ounce, the low from February 12 and resistance at $20.58, the high from March 21.
Meanwhile, gold futures for June delivery fell to a session low of $1,322.00 a troy ounce, before trimming losses to last trade at $1,325.20 an ounce, down 0.81%, or $10.80.
Gold rose 0.4%, or $5.30, on Friday to settle at $1,336.00 an ounce. Futures were likely to find support at $1,319.10 a troy ounce, the low from February 24 and resistance at $1,343.20, the high from March 21.
Market watchers brought forward expectations for a rate increase by U.S. central bank after Fed Chair Janet Yellen suggested last week that a rate hike might come about six months after the bank’s stimulus program ends, which is expected to happen in the fall.
The comments prompted investors to bring forward expectations for a rate hike to as soon as March of next year.
Elsewhere on the Comex, copper futures for May delivery shed 0.2%, or 0.5 cents, to trade at $2.945 a pound.
Data released earlier showed that China’s HSBC Flash Purchasing Managers Index, the earliest indicator of the country''s industrial activity, fell to an eight-month low of 48.1 in March from a final reading of 48.5 in February.
The weaker than expected data fuelled hopes Beijing will unveil fresh stimulus measures to boost growth.
The industrial metal fell to $2.877 a pound on March 19, the lowest since July 2010, amid growing concerns over the health of China’s economy.
The Asian nation is the world’s largest copper consumer, accounting for almost 40% of world consumption last year.