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Gold slips after Fed comments boost dollar

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AP

Gold slipped for a third day on Friday as hawkish comments on U.S. interest rates from a top Federal Reserve official helped lift the dollar to a session peak, and as buyers continued to cash in on this week's price rally.

The metal stayed on track for a second successive weekly gain after U.S. data fueled talk that the Fed will hold off raising rates at its September policy meeting.

Spot gold was down 0.6 percent at $1,329.66 an ounce on Friday, while U.S. gold futures for December delivery settled down $7.10 at $1,334.50 and were $8 lower at $1,333.60. Gold is 0.8 percent higher on the week, having peaked at $1,352.65 an ounce after rallying 1.8 percent on Tuesday.

Soft jobs and services data this week have dented expectations that ultra-low interest rates, a key support for non-yielding gold, will rise this year. Markets remain uncertain on the outlook for rates, however, with Fed officials recently taking a more hawkish tone.

"We have no clear signal from the Fed," ABN Amro analyst Georgette Boele said. "On the one hand you have weaker data, and (gold) is supported a bit, but then the market gets distracted and it goes in the opposite direction."

"The problem with gold currently is that on the technicals side we've now twice been around $1,375-1,380, so if it gets back towards there, people are just taking profits," she added.

A rebound in the dollar after Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren said the U.S. central bank increasingly faces risks if it waits much longer to hike rates added to pressure on gold on Friday.

Growing speculation that the Fed would stand pat on interest rates after hiking for the first time in nearly a decade in December have helped push gold 26 percent higher this year.

Expectations for further policy divergence between the United States and the euro zone were dampened after the European Central Bank held off signaling a move towards further policy easing at a meeting on Thursday.

"The ECB's decision to leave policy unchanged may have refocused market participants on the possibility that the Fed sends a hawkish signal in the coming days before its pre-meeting quiet period begins next Tuesday," BNP Paribas said in a note.

Holdings of the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Shares, fell 0.13 percent to 950.62 tonnes on Thursday.

Gold demand in Asia remained subdued this week as higher prices kept buyers at bay.

Silver was down 2.62 percent at $19.08 an ounce, while platinum was 2.09 percent lower at $1,060 an ounce. Palladium was down 1.03 percent at $675.50.