PRECIOUS-Gold hits one-week low on U.S. rate hike prospects

Aug 22 (Reuters) - Gold fell on Monday to its lowest in over
a week as the dollar strengthened after comments from U.S.
Federal Reserve officials increased bets on a U.S. rate hike
this year.
    * Spot gold was down 0.3 percent at $1,337.12 an
ounce at 0101 GMT, after touching a low of $1,334.20, a level
not seen since Aug. 12. 
    * U.S. gold dropped 0.4 percent to $1,341.20 an
    * The Fed is close to hitting its targets for full
employment and 2 percent inflation, the Fed's No. 2 policymaker
Stanley Fischer said on Sunday in comments that did not address
when the U.S. central bank should next raise interest rates.
    * New York Fed President William Dudley said last week a
rate hike would be possible at the Fed's next policy meeting in
September, though interest rate futures contracts indicate that
market is pricing in about 50/50 odds of an increase in
    * Amid conflicting signals from the Fed in recent days,
central bankers from around the world will gather from Aug. 25
for an annual meeting in the mountains of Jackson Hole, Wyoming,
with Chair Janet Yellen due to speak the following
    * Japanese companies overwhelmingly say the government's
latest stimulus will do little to boost the economy and the Bank
of Japan should not ease further, a Reuters poll showed, a
setback for policymakers' efforts to overcome deflation and
    * The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a
basket of six major rivals, was up 0.3 percent in early trade at
94.796, pulling away from last week's low of 94.077,
which was its weakest since June 24. 
    * Hedge funds and money managers again decreased their
bullish positions in COMEX gold and silver contracts in the week
to Aug. 16, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)
data showed on Friday. 
    * Physical gold demand in Asia improved modestly this week
as consumers returned to the market ahead of upcoming festivals
in India and China when demand is usually high. 
    * For the top stories on metals and other news, click  
    * Asian shares slipped on Monday and the dollar pulled away
from last week's lows on expectations that a signal might emerge
on interest rate hikes from the Fed gathering. 
    1230 U.S. national activity index July

 (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph