Gold prices headed towards record highs on Tuesday, driven by mounting hopes of the Federal Reserve's first interest rate cut in June as investors awaited Chair Jerome Powell's speech and a key jobs data for further guidance.

Spot gold rose 0.4% to $2,122.49 per ounce as of 1219 GMT, and was just $13 away from achieving a record high, after hitting its current peak of $2,135.40 on Dec. 4.

U.S. gold futures gained 0.3% to $2,132.00.

"We are likely to see gold touching fresh all-time highs soon with potential easing of U.S. interest rate cuts, while global geopolitical uncertainty and apprehension over economic activity are likely to fuel the high demand for gold," said Ricardo Evangelista, senior analyst at ActivTrades.

Gold rose by around $50 last week, spurred by poor U.S. manufacturing data and easing price pressures.

Fed's Raphael Bostic said on Monday that he still thinks it will likely be appropriate for the Fed to approve two quarter-point rate cuts by the end of this year.

Spotlight now shifts to Powell's two-day congressional testimony this Wednesday and Thursday, amid a week packed with crucial jobs data as investors look for further cues into the central bank's potential rate-cut timings.

Traders see more than 50% chance that the Fed will start cutting rates by June, according to the CME FedWatch tool, potentially boosting demand for the non-yielding bullion.

The world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust's holdings dropped 10% from the previous year as of March 4.

"All inflows in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and two years later as a result of the war in Ukraine have been reversed. In view of the ongoing ETF selling, the price of gold is holding up surprisingly well," Commerzbank wrote in a note.

Spot platinum fell 1.2% to $886.60 per ounce, and palladium dropped 1.7% to $943.76. Spot silver rose 0.2% to $23.95 per ounce.

(Reporting by Sherin Elizabeth Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Varun H K and Louise Heavens)