MTECHTIPS- Gold prices traded at a three-week high during North America’s session on Wednesday, as the U.S. dollar pulled back from nine-month peaks hit overnight, boosting the appeal of the precious metal. Gold for December delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange touched a session high of $1,277.20 a troy ounce, the most since October 5. It was last at $1,272.15 by 8:40 AM ET (12:40 GMT), down $1.45, or 0.11%, after rallying $9.90, or 0.78%, on Tuesday. The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.2% at 98.48 early Wednesday, after hitting highs of 99.09 overnight, its strongest level since February 1. Dollar weakness usually benefits gold, as it boosts the metal’s appeal as an alternative asset and makes dollar-priced commodities cheaper for holders of other currencies. Despite recent gains, the outlook for gold remains cloudy as a recent string of positive U.S. economic data combined with hawkish remarks from key Fed officials heightened expectations for an interest rate hike before the end of the year. The U.S. central bank’s next meeting is in November, but a rate hike ahead of the presidential election is seen as unlikely. Instead, traders are currently pricing in around a 74% chance of a rate hike at the Fed’s December meeting, according to Rate Monitor Tool.