Gold / Silver / Copper futures - weekly outlook: May 23 - 27

New York (May 22)  Gold prices edged lower on Friday to end near a three-week low as markets factored in the possibility of another interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve as early as June.

Gold for June delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange shed $1.90, or 0.15%, to close at $1,252.90 a troy ounce. For the week, futures lost $20.40, or 1.53%, the second straight weekly decline.

On Thursday, gold tumbled to $1,244.60, a level not seen since April 28, after New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley said the U.S. economy could be strong enough to warrant a rate increase in June or July.

The hawkish comments came after the minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting suggested a rate hike could come as early as June.

Minutes of the Fed's April 26-27 policy meeting published Wednesday revealed that the central bank was likely to raise rates next month if economic data points to stronger second-quarter growth as well as firming inflation and employment.

Odds of a Fed rate hike for June stood at about 30% on Friday, up from just 4% a week earlier, according to futures markets. July odds were at about 50%.

Gold is sensitive to moves in U.S. rates, as a rise would lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion.

The U.S. dollar held at its highest level in nearly two months against a basket of major currencies on Friday, logging its third consecutive week of gains, on hints the Fed is getting closer to raising interest rates.

A stronger U.S. dollar usually weighs on gold, as it dampens the metal's appeal as an alternative asset and makes dollar-priced commodities more expensive for holders of other currencies.

Despite recent losses, prices of the yellow metal are still up nearly 18% so far this year amid indications the Fed will take a slow and cautious approach to raising interest rates this year.

A gradual path to higher rates is seen as less of a threat to gold prices than a swift series of increases.

In the week ahead, investors will continue to focus on U.S. economic reports to gauge if the world's largest economy is strong enough to withstand further rate hikes in 2016, with Friday’s revised first quarter growth data in the spotlight.

In addition, there are a handful of Fed speakers on tap, including comments by Fed Chair Yellen on Friday, as traders search for more clues on the timing of the next U.S. rate hike.

Elsewhere in metals trading, silver futures for July delivery tacked on 3.9 cents, or 0.24%, on Friday to settle at $16.53 a troy ounce. On the week, silver futures slumped 60.8 cents, or 3.5%, the third straight weekly decline.

Also on the Comex, copper for July delivery shed 0.5 cents, or 0.27%, on Friday to end at $2.055 a pound, recovering slightly after falling to $2.038 on Thursday, a level not seen since February 12.

For the week, New York-traded copper prices dipped 1.3 cents, or 0.82%, the third consecutive weekly loss, on lingering worries over the health of China's economy.

The Asian nation is the world’s largest copper consumer, accounting for nearly 45% of world consumption.

Ahead of the coming week, has compiled a list of significant events likely to affect the markets.

Monday, May 23

The euro zone is to release survey data on manufacturing and service sector activity. Germany and France are also to release individual reports.

Later in the day, the U.S. is to release flash data on manufacturing activity. Meanwhile, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, San Francisco Fed President John Williams and Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker are scheduled to speak throughout the day.

Tuesday, May 24

The ZEW Institute will produce a report on May German business sentiment.

The Eurogroup will meet in Brussels to discuss Greece’s debt package.

The U.S. is to release a report on new home sales.

Wednesday, May 25

The Ifo research institute will release its own report on German business morale.

The U.S. is release data on the goods trade balance as well as a weekly report on oil stockpiles. Meanwhile, Philadelphia Fed's Harker, Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari and Dallas Fed President Rob Kaplan are due to speak.

The Bank of Canada is to announce its benchmark interest rate and publish its rate statement.

Thursday, May 26

The U.K. is to release revised data on first quarter gross domestic product as well as preliminary data on business investment.

The U.S. is to release reports on durable goods orders, initial jobless claims and pending home sales, while St. Louis Fed President James Bullard and Fed Governor Jerome Powell are due to speak.

Friday, May 27

The U.S. is to round up the week with revised data on U.S. first quarter GDP, as well as data on consumer sentiment, while Fed Chair Janet Yellen is scheduled to participate in a panel discussion at Harvard University.