* Silver on track for third weekly fall
* Bullion down 0.7% this week (Updates prices)
July 23 (Reuters) - Gold fell and was heading for a weekly dip on Friday as a stronger dollar, firmer yields and equity markets chipped away at its appeal.
Spot gold fell 0.3% to $1,800.72 per ounce by 1:43 pm EDT (1743 GMT). U.S. gold futures settled 0.2% lower at $1,801.80.
Bullion has shed 0.7% this week after briefly moving toward last week’s one-month peak, as fears over rising Delta variant COVID-19 cases have eased, prompting investors to move out of the safe-haven asset as risk appetite returned.
“The gold market is seeking out a fresh fundamental driver and there really isn’t one,” said Jim Wyckoff, senior analyst with Kitco Metals, noting weaker real yields and a jump in COVID-19 cases were not enough to move prices higher.
“Technical traders are taking over because of the lack of fundamentals and gold’s near-term technical posture has turned negative, inviting some traders to short the market,” Wyckoff added.
Heaping pressure on the metal was a stronger dollar index that held close to a 3-1/2-month peak and firmer benchmark Treasury yields. Higher yields tend to weigh on gold, which pays no interest as it translates into an increased opportunity cost of holding the metal.
Market focus now turns to next week’s U.S. Federal Reserve meeting after the European Central Bank on Thursday pledged to keep interest rates at record lows for some time.
“Gold prices have found good support from the physical market on the downside, but have struggled to gain momentum as speculative positioning remains light,” said Suki Cooper, analyst at Standard Chartered.
Holdings in New York’s SPDR Gold Trust, the largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund (ETF), were at their lowest in more than two months on Thursday.
Silver fell 1.2% to $25.16 per ounce, and was set for a third consecutive weekly fall.
Platinum slipped 3% to $1,059.76 per ounce, and palladium shed 1.7% to $2,672.76 per ounce. (Reporting by Nakul Iyer in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrea Ricci, Will Dunham and Chris Reese)
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