Gold prices fell further in Asia on Wednesday as investors reacted to remarks by Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen that hinted rates could rise sooner if the economy ticks up faster than expected.
On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for August delivery traded at $1,295.10 a troy ounce, down 0.15%, after hitting an overnight session low of $1,293.10 and off a high of $1,314.50.
Yellen told the Senate Banking Committee earlier that rates are likely to remain on hold for a considerable period after the bank’s quantitative easing program ends, though her observation that small-cap, biotech and other momentum stock valuations appear "stretched" gave the dollar support, leaving investors to conclude that interest rates could rise sooner than later if the labor market improves, which sent gold falling.
Yellen's comments overshadowed mixed U.S. data, which depicted an economy that continues to recover albeit on a road with lingering potholes.
The Commerce Department reported that U.S. retail sales rose just 0.2% in June, below forecasts for a 0.6% increase. Retail sales for May, however, were revised up to 0.5% from a previously reported 0.3%.
A separate report showed that manufacturing activity in New York state rose to a four-year high this month. The Empire state manufacturing index rose to 25.6 in July from 19.3 in June. Analysts had expected the index to decline to 17.0.
Silver for September delivery was down 0.63% at $20.758 a troy ounce. Copper futures for September delivery fell 0.08% to $3.248 a pound.
China is due to report a slew of second quarter numbers, including GDP, industrial output, retail sales, fixed-asset investment, all at 1000 local time (0200 GMT). The big one is GDP growth with expectations of gain of 7.4% year-on -year for April-June, matching the first quarter rate.