PRECIOUS-Gold dips as dollar firms ahead of U.S. Fed meeting


    * Market expects Fed to raise interest rates by 75 basis
    * Fed meeting scheduled for Sept. 20-21
    * Dollar index up 0.3%
    * London markets closed for Queen Elizabeth's funeral

 (Updates prices)
    By Ashitha Shivaprasad
    Sept 19 (Reuters) - Gold prices slipped on Monday, pressured
by a firmer dollar as investors braced for aggressive interest
rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve and other central banks
this week in an effort to tame high inflation.
    Spot gold        was down 0.8% at $1,661.65 an ounce at 0724
GMT. U.S. gold futures        fell 0.8% to $1,670.80.
    Trading is expected to be light, with the bullion market in
London - the world's biggest trade centre for physical gold -
closed for Queen Elizabeth's funeral.
    The dollar index        gained 0.3%, with the stronger
greenback making bullion more expensive for buyers with other
    "We'll see some choppy, sideways trade leading up to the
FOMC meeting, with $1,680 likely being a pivotal level for
traders over the near term," said City Index analyst Matt
Simpson, referring to the Fed's imminent policy meeting.
    "A hawkish (interest rate) hike would be another nail in the
gold coffin and will likely send prices down to the
$1,600–$1,650 range." 
    The Fed's Federal Open Market Committee is set to begin its
two-day meeting on interest rates on Sept. 20 and announce its
decision the following day. Markets are fully pricing in a rate
increase of 75 basis points by the U.S. central bank.           
    Most of the banks meeting this week - from Switzerland to
South Africa - are expected to hike, with markets split on
whether the Bank of England will go by 50 or 75 basis points. 
    U.S. consumers' near-term inflation expectations fell to a
one-year low in September, easing fears that the Fed could raise
rates by a full percentage point.             
    Gold is viewed as a safe-haven investment in the face of
inflation woes, but high interest rates increase the opportunity
cost of holding non-yielding bullion.
    "Rising geopolitical and economic risks are doing little to
entice haven buying, with the U.S. dollar still the asset of
choice," ANZ analysts said in a note. 
    In other precious metals, spot silver        lost 1.5% to
$19.26 an ounce, platinum        fell 1% to $897.90 and
palladium        was down 1.5% at $2,103.25. 

 (Reporting by Brijesh Patel and Ashitha Shivaprasad in
Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and David Goodman


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