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Gold eases after Fed speaker

Molten gold is poured into molds at the Norton Gold Fields Paddington operations near Kalgoorlie, Australia.
Carla Gottgens | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Molten gold is poured into molds at the Norton Gold Fields Paddington operations near Kalgoorlie, Australia.

Gold fell on Monday after strong U.S. economic data boosted investor risk sentiment, while uncertainty continued about the Federal Reserve's interest rates path.

Boston Federal Reserve President Eric Rosengren said Monday he thought that the Federal Reserve should hike rates sooner than markets imply.

Spot gold eased 0.55 percent to $1,215.68 an ounce, while U.S. gold for June delivery settled down $4.20 at $1,219.30 and last slipped $6.10 to $1,217.40 an ounce.

Gold miners' shares also fell, with a fund that tracks the industry dropping about 2.63 percent.

Spot prices saw their biggest quarterly rise in nearly 30 years in the three months to March, rallying more than 16 percent on speculation the Fed was not in a hurry to normalize interest rates, but drifted back towards the key $1,200 level after hawkish comments from several Fed officials.

The U.S. central bank raised rates in December for the first time in nearly a decade.

"The Fed is still concerned about the global economic growth and the pace of interest rates increases will be gradual," ETF Securities' strategist Edith Southammakosane said. "The FOMC minutes this Wednesday could provide a better idea of when the Fed plans the next rate hike."

The minutes from the Fed's March 15 to 16 Federal Open Market Committee meeting will be released on Wednesday.

The metal is highly exposed to rising rates, which lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets, while boosting the dollar.

"Gold market participants appear to put more weight on the strength of the U.S. economic data and what that will mean for the Fed's rate decisions," Commerzbank analyst Daniel Briesemann said.

Data on Friday showed non-farm payrolls rose by 215,000 last month, higher than expectations of 205,000, underscoring the strength in the U.S. economy.

In the near term, support for gold sits around $1,215 and below this at $1,210, MKS Group said in a note.

Investor positioning in gold is largely bullish. Hedge funds and money managers boosted their bullish bet in gold in the week to March 29, to the highest since the end of 2012, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed on Friday.

Assets in SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.15 percent to 818.09 tonnes on Friday, but remain near the highest in over two years.

Silver futures were down 0.7 percent at $14.94, platinum futures slipped 1.4 percent to $941.50 and palladium futures fell 1.42 percent to $552.95.

— CNBC's Gina Francolla contributed contributed to this report.