PT. Equityworld Futures – Gold hovered near a one-week trough on Friday and was set to snap a three-week rally, pressured by renewed expectations for a U.S. rate hike this year despite recent soft economic data.

Spot gold was little changed at $1,194.71 an ounce by 0017 GMT, after slipping to a session low of $1,192.30 on Thursday. Bullion is down 1.3 percent so far this week following a three-week rise. U.S. gold for June delivery was also nearly flat at $1,194.60 an ounce.

Bullion prices were back to levels where they were before the release of much softer-than-expected U.S. employment data last week. That lifted gold to a seven-week high above $1,220 on Monday as investors pared back forecasts for a U.S. rate increase following the dismal jobs number.

The non-interest bearing metal took a hit from comments from Federal Reserve officials which suggested that a rate hike in June could still be in play, along with minutes of the Fed’s March meeting that opened the door to an increase during that month.

Gold prices could drop to five-year lows this year, extending two years of decline before they rebound in 2016 on a demand recovery in Asia, GFMS analysts at Thomson Reuters said.

Gold demand in the world’s biggest consumer India risks falling for a second straight year in 2015, as millions of Indian farmers hit by erratic weather and falling commodity prices trim purchases.

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