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Gold slips ahead of Fed meeting

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Gold slipped on Thursday, curbing the metal's demand ahead of next week's U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting.

Spot gold dipped by 0.61 percent to $1,314.56 an ounce, with U.S. gold futures settled down $8.10 at $1,318 and were last down 0.63 percent at $1,317.70.

"The Fed is obviously pretty critical," said Oxford Economics commodity director Dan Smith.

"We still have that conviction that the dollar will rally on the back of rate hikes and see the U.S. economy improving in the second half."

U.S. interest rate futures indicate that expectations of a rate increase next week remain low, but the dollar could benefit from anything in the Fed's statement that hints at a hike before the end of the year.

Gold is highly sensitive to rising interest rates, which would lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets.

The dollar fell 0.04 percent against a basket of six major currencies. A stronger dollar makes gold more expensive for holders of other currencies.

"The gold market is on the defensive. It has remained under pressure despite the clear and marked reduction in market expectations of a U.S. rate hike later this month," HSBC said in a note.

"The U.S. yield curve traded to its steepest in two months. The drop in yields should have supported gold more than it did, as arguably the dip in the dollar should have. This implies there is more to gold's sluggishness."

The Bank of England will be a focus on Thursday. The central bank eased monetary policy last month but is expected to refrain from further moves amid signs that it overestimated the initial shock to Britain's economy from June's vote to leave the European Union.

Spot gold looks neutral in a range of $1,319-$1,330 per ounce and an escape could point a direction, Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao said. With China's financial markets closed from Thursday through Sunday for the Mid-Autumn Festival, physical activity in the world's biggest gold consumer is expected to be quiet.

Among other precious metals, spot silver rose 0.2 percent to $18.99 an ounce. Platinum was down 0.21 percent at $1,030.30 and palladium rose 0.46 percent to $657.