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Gold prices steadied on Tuesday, catching their breath after rallying sharply in the prior session, as investors looked ahead to fresh comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen for greater signs on the timing of the next rate hike.


Comex gold futures were at $1,312.12 a troy ounce by 3:10AM ET (0710GMT), little changed from Monday's closing price. It rose to its best level since Sept. 20 at $1,317.10 earlier in the session.


The yellow metal rallied 1.1% on Monday after tensions on the Korean peninsula flared-up anew amid an escalating war of words between North Korea and the U.S.


North Korea's foreign minister said President Donald Trump had declared war on North Korea and that Pyongyang reserved the right to take countermeasures, including shooting down U.S. bombers even if they are not in its air space.


Ri Yong Ho said a Twitter message by Trump on Saturday in which the president warned that the minister and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "won't be around much longer" if they acted on their threats amounted to a declaration of war.


White House spokeswoman Sarah Saunders on Monday denied the United States had declared war and called the suggestion "absurd".


Meanwhile, the Fed is keeping itself in the market's sights, with Chair Janet Yellen due to deliver a speech titled "Inflation, Uncertainty, and Monetary Policy" at the National Association for Business Economics' Annual Meeting in Cleveland at 12:45PM ET (1645GMT) Tuesday.


Her comments will be monitored closely for any new insight on policy. Last week, the U.S. central bank announced it would begin trimming down its $4.5 trillion in assets and signaled it will likely raise rates again this year.


Besides the Fed, market players will focus on CB consumer confidence data and new home sales both due at 10:00AM ET (1400GMT).


Interest rate futures are now pricing in about a 70% chance of a December Fed rate hike according to's Fed Rate Monitor Tool, up from under 40% just a few weeks ago.


Elsewhere on the Comex, silver futures inched up 2.6 cents, or about 0.2%, to $17.17 a troy ounce.