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Gold hits over 2-week low as US dollar rallies vs yen

[BENGALURU] Gold hit its lowest in over two weeks early on Monday, as the US dollar climbed to a more than three-month high versus the yen after Japan's ruling bloc scored a big win in Sunday's election, leaving the door open to ultra-loose monetary policy for longer.

Spot gold was down 0.4 per cent at US$1,275.70 an ounce by 0313 GMT, after hitting its lowest since Oct 6 at US$1,273.80 earlier in the session.

US gold futures for December delivery fell 0.3 per cent to US$1,277.20 per ounce.

"This move is just really because of the US dollar strength,"said Yuichi Ikemizu at ICBC Standard Bank in Tokyo.

"There's no news on North Korea this past week or so. If some news comes out, gold might be supported but at the moment people are just watching the US dollar." Geopolitical risks can boost demand for safe-haven assets such as gold and the Japanese yen.

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party-led (LDP) coalition won a combined 312 seats, keeping its two-thirds "super majority" in the 465-member lower house, local media said.

Mr Abe's victory eased fears that the economic steps implemented under his leadership - such as the Bank of Japan's super easy monetary policy - would be disrupted and halt the yen's depreciation against the US dollar.

The US dollar also rose against a basket of major currencies , supported by a rise in US Treasury yields and progress in tax reforms.

President Donald Trump's tax reform plans won partial support on Friday when Republican Senator Rand Paul said he was "all in" for massive tax cuts, but the party was still far from united over how to achieve the main item on its domestic agenda.

The top US Senate Republican and the White House budget director said on Sunday they hoped for action on a Republican tax reform package by the end of the year, while keeping their options open on how to pay for sweeping tax cuts.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump is considering nominating Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell and Stanford University economist John Taylor for the central bank's top two jobs.

Mr Powell is considered less hawkish than Mr Taylor who is seen advocating higher interest rates.

Current Chair Janet Yellen, whose term expires in February, on Friday said the Fed's tools must remain part of its arsenal as long as the economy remains stuck in a low interest-rate economy.

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

Spot gold may seek support in a narrow zone of US$1,271-US$1,273 per ounce before bouncing towards US$1,283, Reuters technicals analyst Wang Tao said.

In other precious metals, silver was down 0.3 per cent at US$16.95 an ounce.

Platinum fell 0.7 per cent to US$913.90 an ounce and palladium dropped 0.6 per cent to US$969.


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