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Gold Higher Despite Rate Hike Chatter

Gold prices were flat Monday after a top Federal Reserve official said four rate hikes are possible if inflation continues to pick up.

"The markets are seeing that three is possible, four is possible, but five or six seems to me is quite unlikely," New York Fed President Richard Dudley said on CNBC. He added: "Three percent is a reasonable starting point in terms of thinking about what 'neutral' might be over the long run."

June gold edged up by $2.80, or 0.2%, to settle at $1,350.70/oz.

Traders also considered a variety of economic data.

Retail sales in the U.S. increased by more than anticipated, up 0.6 percent in March after edging down by 0.1 percent in February. Economists had expected retail sales to rise by 0.4 percent.

A report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on Monday showed a notably slower pace of growth in New York manufacturing activity in the month of April.

The New York Fed said its general business conditions index fell to 15.8 in April from 22.5 in March, although a positive reading still indicates growth in regional manufacturing activity. Economists had expected the index to drop to 18.6.

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