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Gold ends lower on higher dollar, Fed uncertainty

AP

Gold extended losses into a second day on Thursday as a steadier dollar and higher bond yields dented its investment appeal, while uncertainty over the timing of a U.S. rate rise also weighed.

U.S. gold futures for June delivery settled down $8.10 an ounce at $1,182.20 an ounce. Spot gold was down 0.7 percent to $1,182 an ounce, holding below the key $1,200 level for a fifth day.

"Higher real yields rising are the more dominant factor of gold weakness at the moment," ABN Amro analyst Georgette Boele said.

Gold has been trading in a relatively narrow trading range of around $80 an ounce between $1,142 and $1,224 since mid-February, compared to a range of around $150 in January.

Bond yields in Europe and the United States have been rising as deflation fears ease on recovering oil prices and in anticipation of a interest rate increase by the U.S. Federal Reserve later this year.

As gold pays no interest, the rise in returns from U.S. bonds and other markets is seen as negative for the metal.

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Germany's 10-year government bond yield hit a 2015 high on Wednesday, while the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield rose to its highest since early December.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen warned that low long-term U.S. interest rates could rise as the Fed normalizes its policy, causing disruption across the financial system.

"Yellen's comments that bond yields could see a sharp jump continued to weigh on gold," ANZ said in a note.

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Gold failed to capitalize on disappointing U.S. economic reports and lower equities, raising concerns about possible further declines, traders said.

"We probably want to see real yields going higher along with dollar strength to get gold out of the current trading range and lower," Deutsche Bank analyst Michael Lewis said.

The dollar rebounded from lows hit after data on Wednesday showed U.S. private employers hired the fewest number of workers in more than a year in April.

Investors are focused on Friday's U.S. nonfarm payrolls for April in search for a clearer picture of the economy.

Strong data could prompt the Fed to soon hike rates, a move that could hurt demand for non-interest-paying gold.

Atlanta Fed bank president Dennis Lockhart said on Wednesday he still feels conditions would be in place for a midyear U.S. rate hike despite a weak start to 2015, and that markets betting on a September increase were in "reasonable alignment" with the central bank.