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Gold down on Trump tax pledge, US rate hike expectations

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Gold fell on Friday on a firmer dollar after US President Donald Trump promised a major tax announcement and as economic data boosted expectations of a US rate hike.

[BENGALURU] Gold fell on Friday on a firmer dollar after US President Donald Trump promised a major tax announcement and as economic data boosted expectations of a US rate hike.

Spot gold was down 0.5 per cent at US$1,223.93 per ounce by 0711 GMT. On Wednesday, it touched its highest since Nov. 11 at US$1,244.67.

US gold futures dropped as much as over 1 per cent to US$1,223.30 an ounce.

"The reversal (in prices) was almost entirely due to the surge in the dollar that took place after President Trump revealed he had a 'phenomenal' tax plan ready for unveiling in a few weeks' time," said INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir.

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Mr Trump plans to announce the most ambitious tax reform plan since the Reagan era in the next few weeks, the White House said on Thursday, sending stock prices and the dollar higher on hopes for a cut in corporate tax rates.

"Thursday's trading showed us that (investors) were enamoured more by Trump's general announcement and have not yet bothered to focus on the fine print," Mr Meir said, adding the selloff in gold could be somewhat premature and could reverse course.

US economic data also underpinned the dollar. Initial jobless claims unexpectedly dropped last week to a nearly 43-year low, while inventories at wholesalers surged in December for a second straight month.

The dollar index was firm at 100.600. The US dollar extended its overnight rally and edged up to a nine-day high of 113.79 yen Chicago Federal Reserve President Charles Evans, a voter on policy this year, told reporters it is reasonable to expect the Fed to raise rates three times this year.

However, St Louis Fed President James Bullard said interest rates could likely remain low through at least 2017, with no clear sense yet of whether the Trump administration's policies will spark higher inflation or growth.

"We continue to expect gold to remain supported in the first half of 2017, on the back of risk aversion and global uncertainties," said OCBC analyst Barnabas Gan.

"We continue to place Trump-centric concerns as one of the top concerns on our radar, given the uncertainty surrounding his policies." Spot gold may test support at US$1,218 per ounce, a break below which could open the way towards the next support at US$1,182, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

"US$1,200 is a very good support and it is not going to be very easy to bring it down," said Ronald Leung, chief dealer at Lee Cheong Gold Dealers in Hong Kong.

Spot silver fell 0.4 per cent to US$17.56 an ounce.

Platinum dropped 1.5 per cent to US$996.50, after hitting its highest since Oct 3 at US$1,028.50 in the prior session.

Palladium declined 1 per cent to US$762.30.

REUTERS

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