© Reuters. Gold little changed near 3-month low © Reuters. Gold little changed near 3-month low

Investing.com – Gold prices started the week near their lowest level in three months on Monday, as largely upbeat U.S. economic data reinforced already high expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise rates at its December meeting, and that further hikes are likely in 2018.

Comex were little changed at $1,270.33 a troy ounce by 3:00AM ET (0800GMT) after settling at their lowest level since early August .

The yellow metal notched a weekly loss of around 0.2% last week, its third such decline in a row.

The Institute for Supply Management reported on Friday that its non-manufacturing purchasing managers’ index rose to its .

Another report showed that new orders for U.S. made goods in September and orders for core capital goods increased more than expected.

That came after the monthly U.S. jobs report showed that the economy , but unemployment rate ticked down to its lowest level since December 2000.

The mostly upbeat data underlined the case for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates at a faster pace .

The U.S. central bank is scheduled to hold its final policy meeting of the year on Dec. 12-13, with interest rate futures pricing in a 100% chance of a rate hike at that meeting, according to Investing.com’s .

Gold is highly sensitive to rising rates, which lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion, while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced.

, investors will continue to monitor the progress of the U.S. tax reform bill in what will be relatively quiet week for economic data.

Rep. Kevin Brady, chairman of the House of Representatives tax writing committee, said he plans to offer an amendment making improvements to the bill .

Some traders believe tax reforms could bolster growth, adding pressure on the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates, known as the “Trumpflation” trade.

Elsewhere on the Comex, tacked on 5.0 cents, or 0.3%, to $16.88 a troy ounce. Among other precious metals, inched up 0.2% to $923.40, while gained 0.6% to $997.28 an ounce.

Meanwhile, rallied 3.5 cents, or 1.1%, to $3.152 a pound.

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