PRECIOUS-Gold holds near 7-week low on robust dollar, Fed taper fears


Sept 30 (Reuters) – Gold prices inched up on Thursday but hovered near a seven-week low, constrained by a strong dollar and expectations of the U.S. Federal Reserve winding down stimulus measures soon.


* Spot gold was up 0.2% at $1,729.83 per ounce by 0054 GMT. Prices fell to their lowest level since Aug. 9 at $1,720.49 on Wednesday.

* U.S. gold futures were up 0.4% at $1,729.20.

* The dollar index steadied near a year’s high touched on Wednesday, raising gold’s cost for buyers in other currencies.

* Benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yields were a tad lower, lowering the opportunity cost of holding non-interest bearing bullion. But they held above 1.5%, a level not seen since late June, still posing a challenge for gold.

* San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President Mary Daly on Wednesday said the U.S. central bank will be able to begin reducing asset purchases by the year-end, but believed an interest rate hike is still a “long way” away.

* Philadelphia Fed Bank President Patrick Harker said it would “soon” be time to start reducing the Fed’s economic stimulus.

* Supply constraints thwarting global economic growth could still get worse, keeping inflation elevated longer, even if the current spike in prices is still likely to remain temporary, the world’s top central bankers warned on Wednesday.

* Gold is traditionally seen as an inflation hedge, although reduced central bank stimulus and interest rate hikes tend to push government bond yields up, in turn translating into a higher opportunity cost for gold that pays no interest.

* Silver rose 0.3% to $21.58 per ounce.

* Platinum gained 0.4% to $954.08 and palladium was up 0.3% at $1,862.23.

DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0600 UK GDP QQ, YY Q2 0645 France CPI (EU Norm) Prelim YY Sept 0900 EU Unemployment Rate Aug 1200 Germany CPI Prelim YY Sept 1230 US GDP Final Q2 1230 US Initial Jobless Claims Weekly (Reporting by Nakul Iyer in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)