LONDON : Gold fell 1pc as expectations that US rates could rise in early 2015 supported the dollar and prompted investors to cash in gains made during gold’s recent rally to six-month highs. Palladium prices hit a 2½ year peak meanwhile as an ongoing strike in South Africa, simmering tensions over Ukraine and the launch of two palladium-backed exchange-traded funds in Johannesburg fuelled concerns that demand could outpace supply. Spot gold was down 0.9pc at $1,322.14 an ounce, while US gold futures for April delivery were down $12.60 an ounce at $1,323.40. The metal fell 3.5pc last week, dropping sharply after Federal Reserve Chair surprised world markets on Wednesday by signalling that US interest rates could rise sooner.