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Gold drops on firmer dollar amid talk of another rate hike

Gold
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Gold fell to a three-week low on Thursday, weighed down by a stronger dollar as investors began to assess the potential for another U.S. rate hike later in the year, supported by data showing a strong U.S. jobs market.

The losses in gold were limited, however, with bullion underpinned by a myriad of global uncertainties, including a report that U.S. President Donald Trump was under investigation.

"Just like in previous rate hikes, the next day the market starts looking at the probability of the next hike because everything was factored in beforehand," Natixis metals analyst Bernard Dahdah said.

The U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates by a notch as expected on Wednesday and indicated further tightening before the end of the year.

"If you just look at economics, there's chance of more downside. The Fed was talking about another potential rate hike later this year, which is negative for gold. But there's still enough for people to worry about in geopolitics at different levels," Dahdah said.

Higher interest rates are negative for gold because they increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding gold by forgoing the chance of earning interest on cash holdings.

Spot gold fell 0.54 percent to $1,253.84 per ounce. This represents its weakest mark since May 26, a session when it reached a low of $1,256.65 in the previous session.

U.S. gold futures for August delivery fell $21.30 to settle at $1,254.60 per ounce.

The dollar index was up 0.3 percent after the Fed lifted rates and also pointed the way to a trimming of the huge emergency funds pumped into the economy since 2009.

Gold got some support from safe haven buying after the Washington Post reported that Trump was being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller for possible obstruction of justice. As long as uneasiness around the Trump government among speculators and investors exists, gold will hold up pretty well, said Yuichi Ikemizu, Tokyo branch manager at ICBC Standard Bank.

"Spot gold was also supported by short-term interest in physical gold in Asia, especially from Shanghai this morning," Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA, said.

Among other precious metals, silver declined 0.63 percent to $16.76 per ounce after it snapped a five-session losing streak and settled higher on Wednesday.

Palladium rose 0.06 percent to $863.50 per ounce, while platinum was down 1.52 percent at $921.25 per ounce.