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PRECIOUS-Gold slips from 2-week high as dollar rises after Fed

    Sept 17 (Reuters) - Gold prices eased on Thursday as the
U.S. dollar firmed, although doubts over a swift global economic
recovery and the Federal Reserve's pledge to hold interest rates
near zero until at least 2023 limited losses for the safe-haven
metal.
    
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold        was down 0.3% to $1,954.42 per ounce by
0034 GMT, after hitting its highest since Sept. 2 at $1,973.16
on Wednesday.
    * U.S. gold futures        fell 0.4% to $1,962.90.
    * The dollar index        rose 0.1% against its rivals,
making gold more expensive for holders of other currencies.
Longer-term U.S. Treasury yields hit their highest levels this
week.             
    * The Fed signalled on Wednesday it expects the U.S.
economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis to accelerate with
unemployment falling faster than the central bank expected in
June.             
    * It also said it would keep rates at near zero levels until
inflation is on track to "moderately exceed" its 2% inflation
target "for some time."            
    * Lower interest rates decrease the opportunity cost of
holding non-yielding bullion.
    * Meanwhile, data showed U.S. consumer spending slowed in
August, pointing to a stall in the economic recovery from the
effects of the pandemic.             
    * Asian shares were set to drift lower on Thursday as
concerns about the strength of the economic recovery remained.
           
    * The Bank of Japan is set to keep monetary policy steady on
Thursday, while the Bank of England is expected to signal that
it is getting ready to pump yet more stimulus into Britain's
economy.                          
    * Silver        dropped 0.8% to $27 per ounce, platinum
       dipped 0.9% to $959.58 and palladium        slipped 0.9%
to $2,378.86.

    DATA/EVENTS (GMT)
1100  UK         BOE Bank Rate            Sept
1230  US         Housing Starts Number    Aug
1230  US         Initial Jobless Clm      Weekly
1230  US         Philly Fed Business Indx Sept

 (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu
Sahu)
  
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