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PRECIOUS-Gold falls on hawkish comments by Fed officials, dollar pressure
March 1, 2017 / 4:08 AM / in 10 months

PRECIOUS-Gold falls on hawkish comments by Fed officials, dollar pressure

    * Trump's speech to U.S. Congress fails to stir markets
    * Focus shits to Fed Chair Janet Yellen's Friday speech
    * Spot gold may rise to a range of $1,252-$1,258 -technicals

 (Adds comment; updates prices)
    By Sethuraman N R
    March 1 (Reuters) - Gold fell on Wednesday as the dollar
gained after comments from U.S. Federal Reserve officials raised
expectations of a rate hike in March, while an eagerly awaited
speech by U.S. President Donald Trump offered few details on
infrastructure spending and tax reforms.
    Spot gold        had dropped 0.4 percent to $1,243.86 per
ounce by 0647 GMT. The metal hit its highest since Nov. 11 at
$1,263.80 on Feb. 27.
    U.S. gold futures         fell 0.8 percent to $1,244.30.
    Trump pledged to overhaul the immigration system, improve
jobs and wages for Americans and promised "massive" tax relief
to the middle class and tax cuts for companies, but offered few
clues on how they would be achieved.             
    "The speech was very light on detail ... I suspect it has a
bit turned into a damp squib. There were no new policy
announcements there and a lot of it is already built into the
U.S. dollar," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at
    The president had said on Monday that he would propose a
budget that would increase spending on defence while seeking
savings elsewhere.             
    The dollar index        was up 0.5 percent at 101.580. 
    "The market appeared a little disappointed by the lack of
specifics and was met with a pullback in the greenback," MKS
PAMP Group trader Alex Thorndike said.
     A handful of Fed policymakers on Tuesday boosted
expectations for a March U.S. interest rate increase.
    Interest rate futures implied traders saw nearly a
57-percent chance the Fed would raise rates at its March 14-15
meeting, up from roughly 31 percent late on Monday, and around
20 percent a week ago, according to Reuters data.
   "I believe that the March Fed meeting is live now and we may
even see a rate hike. Maybe the markets will turn their
attention towards that," Halley said.
    "But, Fed Chair Janet Yellen speaking on Friday should be
quite important now. If she is towards the hawkish side, then
the March meeting will be live and strengthen the dollar."
    Spot gold may stabilize around support at $1,244 per ounce,
and then rise into a range of $1,252-$1,258, according to
Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.             
    "With the market pricing in a greater chance of a March rate
hike from the Fed, gold is likely to remain under pressure in
the short term," MKS PAMP's Thorndike said, adding that the
immediate support for gold is at $1244-45, followed by a
stronger one at $1241.50.
    Spot silver        edged down 0.1 percent to $18.28 per
    Platinum        was firm at $1,022.80, while palladium
       rose 0.4 percent to $771.90.

 (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph
Radford and Vyas Mohan)

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