Investing.com - Gold prices held steady within a familiar range on Tuesday, as investors looked ahead to key U.S. economic data due later in the session for fresh clues on the likely trajectory of monetary policy.
Comex gold futures were at $1,278.00 a troy ounce by 3:05AM ET (0805GMT), little changed from last session's closing price.
The yellow metal ended around 0.4% lower on Monday as investors shunned safe-haven assets after the U.S. Senate approved a tax overhaul at the weekend.
A lack of clear drivers has kept gold between $1,260 and $1,300 an ounce since early October.
Investors are also looking ahead to the upcoming U.S. nonfarm payrolls report later this week, which would be the last employment report before the Federal Reserve's monetary policy meeting next week.
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 Fed Rate Monitor Tool. However, markets appeared doubtful over the central bank's ability to raise rates as much as it would like next year due to concern over the sluggish inflation outlook.
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.
Meanwhile, tax reform legislation will remain on the agenda, as Congress works to push through a bill that could give President Donald Trump his first major legislative accomplishment of his presidency. Republicans hope to reach a deal by Christmas.
The Trump administration has said its tax cuts will generate growth and spark inflation, which investors hope will prompt a faster pace of monetary tightening by the Fed.
Friday's deadline on a possible government shutdown will also be on investors' minds.
Market players will also be on the lookout for more headlines about the Russia probe, now that Michael Flynn, former national security advisor, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and agreed to cooperate with investigators.
Meanwhile, copper futures sank 6.3 cents, or 2%, to $3.028 a pound, as concerns over demand in top consumer China pushed investors to sell the red metal.
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