Gold price drops as dollar edges higher; Fed meeting awaited

London (Sept 15)  Gold prices slipped on Thursday after breaking a five-day losing streak in the previous session, as the dollar rose slightly and uncertain equity markets boosted the metal's safe-haven appeal ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting next week.

Asian stocks wavered as investors grappled with the seemingly diminishing ability of major central banks to stimulate growth, while a tumble in crude oil prices added to the risk-aversion mood. "While the market is predicting relatively low probability for September hike, they now seem to be more convinced that a December hike is highly probable," said NAB analyst Vyanne Lai.

"The market has been characterised by high volatility than few weeks before... The general trend will be a downward one," said Lai, adding that prices would be below $1,300 by the end of this year and reach $1,100 by the end of next year.

Spot gold had slipped 0.3 percent to $1,318.96 an ounce by 0730 GMT, and U.S. gold futures were down 0.3 percent at $1,322.60 an ounce.

The dollar index , which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was up 0.2 percent at 95.521.

While U.S. interest rate futures indicate that expectations of an actual rate increase next week remain low, the dollar could get a lift from anything in the Fed's statement that hints at a hike this year.

Gold is highly sensitive to rising rates, which lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion, while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced.

"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," said HSBC analyst James Steel.

"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."

Spot gold looks neutral in a range of $1,319-$1,330 per ounce, and an escape could point a direction, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao. With China's financial markets closed from Thursday through Sunday for the Mid-Autumn Festival, the gold market is expected to be quiet. The Bank of England will be a focus on Thursday. The central bank is seen standing pat after easing policy last month, amid signs it overestimated the initial shock to Britain's economy from June's Brexit vote. Spot silver fell 0.3 percent to $18.88 an ounce. Platinum was unchanged at $1,033 an ounce, while palladium fell 0.3 percent to $652.10.

Source: Reuters