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Gold falls to 7-week low as US dollar firms

[BENGALURU] Gold prices were little changed after marking a seven-week low on Tuesday, as equities and the dollar were buoyed in Asian trade by upbeat economic data and strong US treasury yields.

Spot gold was down 0.1 per cent at US$1,269.71 an ounce by 0713 GMT, after earlier touching its lowest since mid-August at US$1,267.76.

US gold futures for December delivery shed 0.3 per cent to US$1,272.60 an ounce.

"Gold no doubt is struggling for the moment as at least three variables are arrayed against it, namely, a stronger dollar, a higher rate environment and possibly a reduction in tensions with North Korea if tentative contacts revealed over the weekend amount to something," INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir said in a note.

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"We see gold possibly getting to a low of US$1,245 before running into some credible support."

The US dollar on Tuesday rose versus the yen and climbed to its highest since mid-August against a basket of major currencies , extending gains from the previous session when it rose on higher US Treasury yields and strong manufacturing data.

Proposed US tax reforms and growing odds of a December interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve have also helped support the greenback.

Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan on Monday said the central bank would need to "look hard" at whether it should raise rates in December, while Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari earlier that day said he would want to wait on rate hikes.

Higher interest rates tend to boost the US dollar and push bond yields up, adding pressure on greenback-denominated, non-yielding gold.

Meanwhile, the White House on Monday ruled out talks with North Korea except to discuss the fate of Americans held there, again appearing to rebuke Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who said Washington was directly communicating with Pyongyang on its nuclear and missile programmes.

Spot gold may find support in a zone of US$1,260-US$1,263 per ounce, and then start a decent bounce, Reuters technicals analyst Wang Tao said.

In other precious metals, silver had edged down 0.1 per cent to US$16.53 an ounce after earlier matching its lowest since Aug 9, which it originally hit yesterday.

Platinum and palladium were both 0.2 per cent higher at US$912.40 and US$911.50 an ounce respectively, having hit price parity for the first time in 16 years last week.

REUTERS