October 13, 2016 / 1:06 AM / a year ago

PRECIOUS-Gold prices ease on Fed rate hike prospects

Oct 13 (Reuters) - Gold prices edged down on Thursday as the
dollar rose on expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve might
raise interest rates in December.
    * Spot gold had fallen 0.1 percent to $1,253.20 an
ounce by 0052 GMT.
    * U.S. gold futures were up 0.1 percent at $1,255 an
    * The dollar index, which measures the greenback
against a basket of six major currencies, gained 0.1 percent to
98.096. The dollar hovered near a seven-month high early
    * Several voting Federal Reserve policymakers judged a rate
hike would be warranted "relatively soon" if the U.S. economy
continued to strengthen but doubts on inflation remained,
according to the minutes of the Fed's September policy meeting
released on Wednesday. 
    * The European Central Bank may discuss technical changes to
its asset-buying scheme next week but a decision could be
deferred until December when the bank will also decide whether
to extend the scheme beyond March, sources familiar with the
discussion said. 
    * Bank of England policymaker Michael Saunders said on
Tuesday he would not be surprised if the pound fell further, but
the BoE could overlook the effect of weak sterling on inflation,
possibly for years. 
    *  Bank of Japan policymakers signalled on Wednesday they
had raised the threshold for further easing after last month's
policy revamp - keeping their pledge to expand stimulus if
needed, but only to protect the economy from external shocks.
    * South Africa has failed to protect residents affected by
pollution from contaminated water and mine dumps over more than
130 years of gold mining near Johannesburg, an independent
investigation by the Harvard Law School said. 
    * Chinese banks are stepping up lending to midsize metals
traders in Singapore, pushing into a gap in the market as U.S.
regulations and fading appetite for risk drive Western rivals to
focus on larger commodity merchants, metals industry sources
    * Silver and gold miner Fresnillo Plc reports gold
production of 220,000 ounces (koz), up about 21 percent from
last year as recovery speed at Herradura and Noche Buena mines
    * ABN AMRO on Wednesday cut its gold price outlook for 2016
and 2017. 
    * For the top stories on metals and other news, click
           China        Trade data              September 
     1230  U.S.         Import prices           September 
     1230  U.S.         Export prices           September 
     1230  U.S.         Weekly jobless claims 

 (Reporting by Swati Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph

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