September 18, 2017 / 7:14 AM / a year ago

PRECIOUS-Gold slips as equities, dollar surge ahead of Fed meet

    * Spot gold may drop to $1,309/oz - technicals
    * Specs raise net longs for ninth straight week
    * Dollar hovers near 8-week high against yen

 (Updates prices)
    By Apeksha Nair
    Sept 18 (Reuters) - Gold slipped to its lowest level in over
two weeks on Monday as the dollar and equities rallied, 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 0.3 percent at $1,315.36 an ounce
by 0658 GMT. Earlier in the session, gold hit $1314.36, its
lowest since Aug 31.
    U.S. gold futures         for December delivery fell 0.5
percent to $1,319 an ounce.
    "Further risk-taking appetite left gold prices in the dust,"
 said OCBC analyst Barnabas Gan.
    Asian shares hit a decade high on Monday and the dollar
hovered around an eight-week peak against the yen, in the start
to a week in which the Fed is likely to announce balance sheet
    The two-day Fed Open Market Committee meeting, which begins
on Tuesday, will be closely watched by markets as the U.S.
central bank is expected to announce its balance sheet reduction
plans while keeping interest rates unchanged 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.
    Fed funds futures on Friday implied traders saw a 53 percent
chance of a December rate hike, according to CME Group's
FedWatch tool.             
    Gold is highly sensitive to rising U.S. interest rates,
which increase the opportunity cost of holding the non-yielding
asset while boosting the 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.
    U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on
Sunday the U.N. Security Council has run out of options on
containing North Korea's nuclear program and the U.S. may have
to turn the matter over to the Pentagon.              
    North Korea issues will likely take centre stage when Trump
addresses world leaders at the United Nations for the first time
on Tuesday.             
    Spot gold may drop to $1,309 per ounce, as it has broken a
support at $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 0.4 percent
to $17.51 an ounce, after earlier hitting its lowest since Sept.
    Platinum        rose 0.4 to $967.90 an ounce, while
palladium        gained just over 1 percent to $933.40.

 (Reporting by Apeksha Nair and Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru;
Editing by Neil Fullick and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
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