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Gold ends lower, but weaker dollar caps losses

AP

Gold settled modestly lower on Wednesday as recent strong U.S. data fueled talk that the Federal Reserve could soon raise interest rates, depressing gold.

Reports released on Wednesday, however, showed domestic personal spending grew slightly less than forecast in October, while U.S. jobless claims rose to their highest since September and new orders for U.S.-made capital goods fell for a second month in October.

U.S. gold futures for February delivery ended the session 30 cents lower at $1,197.50 an ounce.

Spot gold was last down 0.3 percent at $1,197 an ounce. Spot prices had slipped as low as $1,194.71 before the economic data.

"You have to wonder for how much longer U.S. data can have such a big hold on gold," Macquarie analyst Matthew Turner said.

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"We have had a lot of ups and downs in U.S. data this year, but the Fed hasn't actually changed its policy. You'd think at some point these data points would have to get a lot more shocking to have a major impact."

Gold has seen quiet trading since recovering from a four-and-a-half year low earlier this month. The metal saw some buying interest in Asia overnight, MKS said in a note, though that was not enough to push prices much higher.

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"Some decent volume went through the Shanghai Gold Exchange today, mainly on the buy side, which helped shift the premium out to $1.00-$2.00," it said.

China's net gold imports from main conduit Hong Kong hit a seven-month high in October, according to official Hong Kong data released on Tuesday.

Speculation that Switzerland could vote in favor of a motion to raise its gold reserves has underpinned prices.

The vote is aimed at preventing the Swiss National Bank from offloading its gold holdings and obliging it to hold at least 20 percent of its assets in gold, compared with 8 percent last month.