Gold prices gained in Asia on Monday as investors sought to take advantage of recent declines despite a strong dollar after the Federal Reserve at the weekend suggested interest rates may rise sooner than expected.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold for December delivery traded at $1,281.70 a troy ounce, up 0.49%, after settling at $1,280.20 a troy ounce by close of trade on Friday. Prices hit $1,273.40 an ounce on Thursday, the lowest since June 18.

Speaking at the Federal Reserve's annual meeting of top central bankers and economists in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said the U.S. economy is recovering and added the labor market is improving as well.

Her comments came after minutes of the Fed’s July meeting published Wednesday showed that some officials believe the strengthening recovery and ongoing improvement in the labor market supports a move towards tightening monetary policy.

Meanwhile, tensions over the crisis in Ukraine remained in focus after NATO said it was observing an alarming increase in Russian forces near the border with Ukraine.

Ukraine declared on Friday that Russia had launched a "direct invasion" of its territory after Moscow sent a convoy of aid trucks across the border into eastern Ukraine where pro-Russian rebels are fighting government forces.

The precious metal is often seen as a haven investment in times of geopolitical uncertainty.

In the week ahead, investors will be looking ahead to key U.S. data for further indications on the strength of the economy and the possible future path of monetary policy.

The U.S. will produce data on second quarter gross domestic product, as well as reports on new home sales, durable goods orders and initial jobless claims.

Also on the Comex, silver for September delivery was flat at $19.459 a troy ounce. Prices fell to $19.28 on Thursday, the lowest since June 12. On the week, the September silver futures contract declined 0.71%, or 14.0 cents, the sixth consecutive weekly loss.

Elsewhere in metals trading, Copper for September delivery was also flat at $3.223 a pound. Comex copper prices tacked on 0.96%, or 3.1 cents, last week amid speculation weakening economic growth in China will prompt policymakers to introduce fresh stimulus measures.

The Asian nation is the world’s largest copper consumer, accounting for almost 40% of world consumption last year.

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