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Gold falls below 2-week high on firmer dollar

AP

Gold eased on Wednesday, falling from a two-week high on the firmer dollar while losses were capped on expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will delay raising interest rates until next year.

Spot gold fell 0.1 percent to $1,145.86 an ounce, after touching $1,153.30, its highest level since Sept. 24. U.S. gold futures for December delivery settled up $2.30 an ounce at $1,148.70.

The market was relatively subdued as traders awaited the minutes from the Fed's September meeting on Thursday.

"What the market will be looking for is, how close was the Fed to making a move in the September meeting, and how deep and detailed was the global turmoil discussion in that meeting," said Rob Haworth, senior investment strategist for U.S. Bank Wealth management in Seattle.

"The hedge funds have been either unwinding short positions or taking new long positions as a hedge to Fed inaction. Part of what you're getting today is truing up those positions; people who aren't getting the price action they expected, maybe taking that off."

Wall Street and other stock indexes gave up earlier gains as concern grew about the outlook for U.S. earnings and oil prices reversed direction after an early surge.

"In general, riskier assets are doing well," said Georgette Boele, FX and commodity strategist at ABN Amro. "The sentiment is positive, which means gold is a bit hurt."

A stronger dollar also weighed on gold by making the metal more expensive for holders of other currencies.

"The market is still mostly being driven by the interest rate expectations," Boele said.

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Gold has come under pressure from expectations that the Fed may raise interest rates this year, potentially lifting the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

But weak U.S. economic data and caution about the global economy have prompted many to push back expectations. Speculation around the timing of the rise has helped gold prices gain about 3 percent so far this month.

In other precious metals markets, silver rose to a 3-1/2-month high at $16.10 an ounce, rising for the fourth day and gaining 8.5 percent this month so far.

Platinum also rose for the fourth straight session, climbing to the highest since Sept. 25 at $952 an ounce, extending gains above last week's near seven-year low on fears that the Volkswagen emissions scandal could hurt demand for diesel cars, in which the metal is used for catalysts.

Palladium moved in the opposite direction, easing 1.1 percent to $694.75 an ounce.