Gold prices drift further away from seven-week highs as dollar firms

Gold prices on Thursday drifted further away from seven-week highs hit earlier this week, as the dollar firmed on expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve could trim its bond holdings in September.


* Spot gold had fallen 0.3 percent to $1,262.40 per ounce by 0033 GMT.

* U.S. gold futures
for December delivery dropped 0.8 percent to $1,268.70 per ounce.

* The U.S. economy will likely be strong enough for the Fed to trim its bond holdings in September, San Francisco Fed President John Williams said on Wednesday, in a sign the central bank is close to unwinding a controversial stimulus tool.

* St. Louis Fed President James Bullard is opposed to further U.S. interest rate increases by the central bank and warned that more hikes could hinder domestic inflation from achieving the Fed’s 2-percent goal, Market News International reported on Wednesday.

* The Fed should not “overreact” to weak inflation especially since data will arrive before a mid-September policy meeting that could clarify whether the weakness is temporary, Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester said on Wednesday.

* U.S. private employers added 178,000 jobs in July, below economists’ expectations, a report by a payrolls processor showed on Wednesday.

* U.S. President Donald Trump grudgingly signed into law new sanctions against Russia on Wednesday, a move Moscow said amounted to a full-scale trade war and an end to hopes for better ties with the Trump administration.

* A ban on travel by U.S. passport holders to North Korea will take effect on Sept. 1 and Americans in the country should leave before that date, the U.S. State Department said on Wednesday.

* The Bank of England looks set to keep interest rates at a record low once again on Thursday with investors looking for signs that, faced with Brexit, it is getting nearer to raising rates for the first time in a decade.

(Reporting by Nithin Prasad in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph Radford)

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