MTECHTIPS- Gold prices closed at the lowest level in nine months on Friday as expectations for higher U.S. interest rates continued to cloud the demand outlook for the precious metal. Gold for December delivery settled down 0.53% at $1,183.00 on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest close since February 5. Safe haven demand for gold has been hit since the U.S. presidential election amid expectations that increased fiscal spending and tax cuts under the Trump administration will spur economic growth and inflation. Faster growth would spark inflation, which in turn would prompt the Federal Reserve to tighten monetary policy a faster rate than had previously been expected. The precious metal has also been weighed down by bets that a rate hike by the Fed in December is a near certainty. According to Investing.com’s Fed Rate Monitor Tool, 95.4% of traders expect the Fed to raise interest rates at its policy meeting next month. Gold is sensitive to moves in U.S. rates, which lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion, while boosting the dollar in which it is priced. Elsewhere in metals trading, silver settled at $16.47, paring the week’s losses to 0.48%. Also on the Comex, copper for December delivery settled at $2.46 a pound.