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Gold dropped by half a percentage point on Monday, retreating from two-month highs under pressure from a strengthening dollar and a slight easing of tensions between the United States and North Korea. Though North Korea's Liberation Day celebration on Tuesday could raise the temperature again, markets were relieved that the weekend passed without more inflammatory rhetoric.
Elsewhere, the dollar rose from last week's four-month lows against the yen and traded up against a currency basket, making dollar-priced gold costlier for non-U.S. investors.
"A lot of the negative news is priced into the dollar. That, combined with no real escalation in North Korea, should lead to lower gold prices, though it doesn't mean we expect a very negative trend. We'll stay within the $1,200 to $1,300 range for the year," said ABN Amro strategist Georgette Boele.
Spot gold fell 0.55 percent to $1,281.75 an ounce, having reached its highest since June 7 at $1,291.86 in the previous session.
U.S. gold futures for December delivery settled at $1,290.40 per ounce.
Consumer prices in the United States rose less than expected in July, data showed on Friday, suggesting benign inflation that could persuade a cautious Federal Reserve to delay raising U.S. interest rates until December.
"As a result (of the weak inflation data), rate hike expectations according to the Fed Fund Futures have dropped to their lowest level since November, which should benefit gold," Commerzbank said in a note.
Gold is highly sensitive to rising interest rates because they increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion. Hedge funds and money managers boosted their net long, or buy, position in COMEX gold for the fourth straight week to a near two-month high in the week to Aug. 8, data showed on Friday.
Spot gold faces strong resistance at $1,291 an ounce and could hover below this level or retrace to support at $1,278, said Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.