Gold rose on Wednesday as the dollar eased and was headed for its biggest monthly gain in more than two years, while investors braced for a speech by U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell for hints on future interest rate rises.

Spot gold rose 0.7% to $1,761.29 per ounce by 1254 GMT. U.S. gold futures also gained 0.7% to $1,760.70.

Gold is set for a 7.8% monthly rise, which would be its best since July 2020, and follows a seven-month losing streak.

"Overall, the scenario is improving for both gold and silver. Gold is in a consolidation phase after the recent gains and markets are in a wait-and-see mode, awaiting more clarity from the Fed," said Carlo Alberto De Casa, external analyst at Kinesis Money.

Making bullion less expensive for those holding other currencies, the U.S. dollar index edged 0.4% lower.

Market participants are focused on Powell's upcoming speech at a Brookings Institution event at 1830 GMT for any indication on the central bank's policy strategy ahead of its December meeting.

The Fed is largely expected to deliver a 50 basis point rate rise, after four consecutive 75 bp increases, to tame inflation. A smaller increase could propel gold higher.

"If Powell takes a hawkish stance, the dollar will strengthen and gold will move lower, probably back to the $1,745 level. But if he sounds more conciliatory, gold could maybe move up to the $1,780 level," said Edward Meir, analyst with ED&F Man Capital Markets.

Investors will also closely watch the ADP National Employment report at 1315 GMT.

Spot silver rose 1.4% to $21.55 per ounce, on course for its best monthly gain since December 2020.

Platinum jumped 1.5% to $1,017.71, en route to its biggest monthly gain since February 2021.

Palladium climbed 3% to $1,887.96 and was up about 2.7% for the month.

(Reporting by Arundhati Sarkar and Ashitha Shivaprasad in Bengaluru; Editing by Robert Birsel, Kirsten Donovan)