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PRECIOUS-Gold under pressure as Fed's Yellen backs gradual rate hikes

* Spot gold may fall to a support at $1,182/oz - technicals
    * Dollar off four-week lows after U.S. inflation, Yellen
comments
    * Gold market awaiting more clues on Trump policy

 (Adds comment, updates prices)
    By Sethuraman N R
    Jan 19 (Reuters) - Gold prices were down on Thursday on a
strong dollar after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen advocated
lifting U.S. interest rates gradually.
    Spot gold was down 0.1 percent to $1,202 per ounce by
0600 GMT, after dropping to as much as $1,197.31. The bullion
hit an eight-week high of $1,218.64 on Tuesday.
    U.S. gold futures fell as much as over 1 percent to
$1,197.10.
    The dollar index, which measures the greenback
against a basket of currencies, rose 0.3 percent to 101.230.
    With the U.S. economy close to full employment and inflation
headed toward the Federal Reserve's 2 percent goal, it "makes
sense" for the U.S. central bank to gradually lift interest
rates, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said on Wednesday. 
    "(Yellen's) speech was interpreted as being bearish for
gold," said INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir, adding that the
metal could be under more pressure later in the day as the Fed
chair speaks on U.S. monetary policy again on Thursday.
    Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan on Wednesday joined the
chorus of central bank officials making a case for a gradual
hike in U.S. interest rates. 
    "We would view any short-term weakness as a buying
opportunity in gold given that we do not think the Fed will be
pushing the higher rate trajectory story so aggressively over
the short-term," Meir said.
    "The Fed would want to first wait and see what kind of
fiscal policies Donald Trump formulates and sends to Congress." 
    U.S. consumer prices increased in December as households
paid more for gasoline and rental accommodation, leading to the
largest year-on-year increase in 2-1/2 years and signaling that
inflation pressures could be building. 
    Positive data usually puts pressure on gold prices, because
investors raise bets on a U.S. interest rate hike that would
increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.
    "We can still say there is an inverse relation between
dollar and gold as we are waiting to hear from Trump on his
policies. We can expect random shocks from him," said Mark To,
head of research at Hong Kong's Wing Fung Financial Group.
    "There should be some consolidation around the $1,200 levels
for sometime."
    U.S President-elect Donald Trump has called for tax cuts and
more infrastructure spending which has boosted U.S. shares and
the dollar and seen a sell-off in Treasuries. His protectionist
statements and off-the-cuff tweets have led many investors to
opt for gold.
    Gold, considered a safe-haven investment during times of
geopolitical and financial uncertainty, has risen more than 7
percent since dropping to a more than 10-1/2-month-low in
December.
    Silver fell 0.2 percent to $16.98 an ounce.
    Platinum was flat at $961.20, while palladium was
down 0.1 percent to $747.70. 

 (Reporting By Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by
Amrutha Gayathri and Michael Perry)
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