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Gold Eases As Dollar Recovers, Equities Rise

A sidelined Fed between now and year-end should weaken the dollar, pushing gold to test July highs of $1,374 levels, with an outside chance of getting to $1,400, says an analyst

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Gold slipped on Monday after rising over 1 percent to a near 3-week high in the previous session, as equities rose and the dollar recovered from lows hit after disappointing U.S. growth figures last week.

The U.S. Commerce Department reported on Friday that the U.S. economy grew at a 1.2 percent annual rate in the second quarter, much less than expected.

Asian shares hit a one-year high on Monday, while the dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six rival currencies, was up 0.1 percent at 95.673, crawling away from its Friday low of 95.384, its lowest since July 5.

Spot gold inched down 0.3 percent at $1,347.01 an ounce at 0643 GMT. Bullion hit $1,355.10 on Friday, its highest level since July 12.

U.S. gold eased 0.2 percent at $1,354.3 an ounce.

"The (gold) markets will be more prudent ahead of the non-farm payrolls data due on Friday," said Jiang Shu, chief analyst at Shandong Gold Group.

"If it is going to be weak, then people will change their expectations about the U.S. economic prospects drastically. If they are relatively good, bad GDP data could be counterbalanced by good jobs data."

Signals for spot gold were mixed and will become clearer when the metal gets out of a range of $1,346-1,357 per ounce, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

Top U.S. Fed policymakers held varying opinions about rate hikes, with Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan calling for caution, while San Francisco Fed President John Williams expected the central bank to raise interest rates up to two times before year-end.

"The Fed will likely abstain from doing anything in September or October as that will be too early to make a move. The latest odds show a rate increase for December at roughly 45 percent, while September at about 18," INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir said in a note.

A sidelined Fed between now and year-end should weaken the dollar, pushing gold to test July highs of $1,374 levels, with an outside chance of getting to $1,400, Meir added.

Speculators increased their net long position in COMEX silver contracts, but cut net long positions in gold, in the week to July 26.

Among other precious metals, spot silver touched a 3-week high of $20.62 and was up nearly 1 percent at $20.49.

Platinum, which hit over 14-month highs on Friday, was up 0.5 percent at $1,148.65 an ounce, while palladium was down 0.1 percent at $709.20. It hit its highest in over 9-1/2 months on Friday.

(Reuters)


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