PRECIOUS-Gold dips as yields perk up, dollar strengthens

Reuters

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    * Silver on track for third weekly fall
    * Bullion down 0.7% this week 

 (Updates prices)
    By Nakul Iyer
    July 23 (Reuters) - Gold fell and was heading for a weekly
dip on Friday as a stronger dollar, firmer yields and equity
markets chipped away at its appeal.  
    Spot gold  XAU=  fell 0.3% to $1,800.72 per ounce by 1:43 pm
EDT (1743 GMT). U.S. gold futures  GCv1  settled 0.2% lower at
$1,801.80.
    Bullion has shed 0.7% this week after briefly moving toward 
last week's one-month peak, as fears over rising Delta variant
COVID-19 cases have eased, prompting investors to move out of
the safe-haven asset as risk appetite returned. 
    "The gold market is seeking out a fresh fundamental driver
and there really isn't one," said Jim Wyckoff, senior analyst
with Kitco Metals, noting weaker real yields and a jump in
COVID-19 cases were not enough to move prices higher.  
    "Technical traders are taking over because of the lack of
fundamentals and gold's near-term technical posture has turned
negative, inviting some traders to short the market," Wyckoff
added.
    Heaping pressure on the metal was a stronger dollar index
that held close to a 3-1/2-month peak and firmer benchmark
Treasury yields. Higher yields tend to weigh on gold, which pays
no interest as it translates into an increased opportunity cost
of holding the metal. 
    Market focus now turns to next week's U.S. Federal Reserve
meeting after the European Central Bank on Thursday pledged to
keep interest rates at record lows for some time.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2OY07V
    "Gold prices have found good support from the physical
market on the downside, but have struggled to gain momentum as
speculative positioning remains light," said Suki Cooper,
analyst at Standard Chartered.
    Holdings in New York's SPDR Gold Trust  GLD , the largest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund (ETF), were at their lowest in
more than two months on Thursday.  GOL/ETF 
    Silver  XAG=  fell 1.2% to $25.16 per ounce, and was set for
a third consecutive weekly fall.
    Platinum  XPT=  slipped 3% to $1,059.76 per ounce, and
palladium  XPD=  shed 1.7% to $2,672.76 per ounce.

 (Reporting by Nakul Iyer in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrea Ricci,
Will Dunham and Chris Reese)
 ((nakul.iyer@thomsonreuters.com;  Within U.S. +1 646 223 8780,
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