(Bloomberg) -- Gold held a drop after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said officials should weigh removing pandemic support at a faster pace, potentially paving the way for earlier-than-expected interest-rate hikes. 

Powell signaled Tuesday at the Senate Banking Committee that the matter could be discussed at the Fed’s next meeting Dec. 14-15, by which there will be more information on the new coronavirus strain. Powell also retired the word “transitory” to describe stubbornly high inflation. The dollar pared steep losses in response to his comments, which weighed on the precious metal.

Bullion posted a marginal loss last month as investors weighed the prospects of the Fed dialing back on pandemic-era stimulus amid elevated consumer prices, with the uncertainty surrounding the omicron variant’s impact on the global recovery. The U.S. central bank is currently scheduled to complete its asset-purchase program in mid-2022 under a plan announced at the start of November to slow buying by $15 billion a month. 

Spot gold was steady at $1,773.29 an ounce by 7:48 a.m. in Singapore after dropping 0.6% Tuesday. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed after declining 0.4% in the previous session. Silver retreated 0.2%, palladium rose 0.6% and platinum steadied.

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