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Gold slips after Fed comments boost dollar

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Gold slipped for a third day on Friday as hawkish comments on US interest rates from a top Federal Reserve official helped lift the dollar to a session peak, and as buyers continued to cash in on this week's price rally.

[LONDON] Gold slipped for a third day on Friday as hawkish comments on US interest rates from a top Federal Reserve official helped lift the dollar to a session peak, and as buyers continued to cash in on this week's price rally.

The metal stayed on track for a second successive weekly gain after US data fuelled talk that the Fed will hold off raising rates at its September policy meeting.

Spot gold was down 0.25 per cent at US$1,334.61 an ounce at 1325 GMT on Friday, while US gold futures for December delivery were US$3.30 lower at US$1,338.30. Gold is 0.8 per cent higher on the week, having peaked at US$1,352.65 an ounce after rallying 1.8 per cent on Tuesday.

Soft jobs and services data this week have dented expectations that ultra-low interest rates, a key support for non-yielding gold, will rise this year. Markets remain uncertain on the outlook for rates, however, with Fed officials recently taking a more hawkish tone.

"We have no clear signal from the Fed," ABN Amro analyst Georgette Boele said. "On the one hand you have weaker data, and (gold) is supported a bit, but then the market gets distracted and it goes in the opposite direction." "

The problem with gold currently is that on the technicals side we've now twice been around US$1,375-1,380, so if it gets back towards there, people are just taking profits," she added.

A rebound in the dollar after Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren said the US central bank increasingly faces risks if it waits much longer to hike rates added to pressure on gold on Friday.

Growing speculation that the Fed would stand pat on interest rates after hiking for the first time in nearly a decade in December have helped push gold 26 per cent higher this year.

Expectations for further policy divergence between the United States and the euro zone were dampened after the European Central Bank held off signalling a move towards further policy easing at a meeting on Thursday.

"The ECB's decision to leave policy unchanged may have refocused market participants on the possibility that the Fed sends a hawkish signal in the coming days before its pre-meeting quiet period begins next Tuesday," BNP Paribas said in a note.

Holdings of the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Shares, fell 0.13 per cent to 950.62 tonnes on Thursday.

Gold demand in Asia remained subdued this week as higher prices kept buyers at bay.

Silver was down 0.6 per cent at US$19.48 an ounce, while platinum was 0.7 per cent lower at US$1,075.20 an ounce. Palladium was down 0.7 per cent at US$677.85.

REUTERS