Gold holds above $1,180 but firmer dollar weighs
Singapore (Apr 1) Gold steadied on Wednesday after falling for a second straight month in March as renewed bets that the Federal Reserve is on course to lift interest rates this year burnished the dollar's appeal.
* Spot gold was little changed at $1,184.16 an ounce by 0011 GMT, after ending March with a loss of 2.4 percent.
* Bullion has dropped 3 percent since touching a three-week high last week, as the dollar gained momentum after Fed Chair Janet Yellen on Friday signalled a rate hike may be likely later this year amid continued improvements in U.S. economic conditions.
* Yellen's remarks halted a seven-day rally in gold, its longest since 2012, that had been spurred by hopes the Fed would take it slow in raising rates.
* U.S. gold for April delivery was also nearly flat at $1,184 an ounce.
* The Fed will have a "strong" case to hike interest rates. In June, Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker said, dismissing recently weak economic data as transitory and perhaps due to unseasonable weather.
* U.S. consumer confidence rebounded strongly in March amid
optimism over the labor market while house prices increased in
January, hopeful signs that a recent sharp slowdown in economic
activity was probably a blip.
* The world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, New
York-listed SPDR Gold Trust, in March recorded its biggest
monthly outflow since December 2013, data from the fund shows.
* The euro closed out the worst quarter in its 15-year
history on Tuesday, slammed by monetary policy changes and
worries about Greece, while U.S. stocks retreated a day after
posting big gains.
* U.S. crude futures edged up on Wednesday, following a more
than 7 percent decline over the past three days, as Iran and
world powers negotiated beyond a Tuesday deadline, raising
uncertainty over a nuclear deal that could add to a global oil