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Gold slips to two-week low ahead of Fed meet

[BENGALURU] Gold slipped to its lowest level in over two weeks on Monday as equities rallied and the dollar firmed, while prospects of monetary policy tightening in the United States ahead of a Federal Reserve meeting also weighed on the metal.

Spot gold was down 0.2 per cent at US$1,317.00 an ounce, as of 0423 GMT. Earlier in the session, it hit US$1,315.10, its lowest since Aug 31.

US gold futures for December delivery fell 0.3 per cent to US$1,321.10 an ounce.

"Further risk-taking appetite left gold prices in the dust," said OCBC analyst Barnabas Gan.

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Asian shares hit a decade high on Monday and the US dollar held firm near a seven-week high against the yen, in the start to a week in which the Fed is likely to announce balance sheet tapering.

The two-day Fed Open Market Committee meeting, which begins on Tuesday, will be closely watched by markets as the US central bank is expected to announce balance sheet reduction in an effort to "normalise" monetary policy.

"Gold prices also came under some selling pressure, with investors dismissing geopolitical risks and instead focusing on the possibility of rate hikes from central banks," ANZ analyst Daniel Hynes said in a note.

"Expectations of a rate hike by the Fed in December have risen sharply in recent weeks."

Gold is highly sensitive to rising US interest rates, which increase the opportunity cost of holding the non-yielding asset while boosting the US dollar, in which the metal is priced.

Investors largely brushed aside concerns on the geopolitical front after a relatively quiet weekend in the Korean peninsula.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Sunday the UN Security Council has run out of options on containing North Korea's nuclear programme and the United States may have to turn the matter over to the Pentagon.

North Korea issues will likely take centre stage when Mr Trump addresses world leaders at the United Nations for the first time on Tuesday.

Spot gold may drop to US$1,309 per ounce, as it has broken a support at US$1,321, said Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

Meanwhile, data showed speculators raised their net long position in Comex gold contracts for the ninth straight week, bringing it to a one-year high in the week to Sept 12.

In other precious metals, silver slipped 0.3 per cent to US$17.53 an ounce, after earlier hitting its lowest since Sept 1.

Platinum was little changed at US$963.35 an ounce, while palladium gained up to 0.5 per cent at US$927.47.