PRECIOUS-Gold languishes near 7-week low on rising dollar, bond yields

Sept 29 (Reuters) - Gold prices were flat near a seven-week low on Wednesday, pressured by a rise in the dollar and U.S. Treasury yields on growing expectations of an earlier-than-anticipated interest rate liftoff.


* Spot gold was flat at $1,735.17 per ounce by 0123 GMT. On Tuesday prices fell to their lowest level since Aug. 11 to $1,726.19.

* U.S. gold futures were little changed at $1,735.90.

* The dollar index hovered near a more than 10-month high, touched on Tuesday. The benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yields held close to over three-month peak, increasing the opportunity cost of holding non-interest bearing bullion.

* St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard on Tuesday cautioned high inflation may require more aggressive steps by the central bank, including two interest rate hikes in 2022.

* Meanwhile, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the U.S. economy is still far from achieving maximum employment, a key component of the central bank’s requirements for raising interest rates.

* U.S. consumer confidence fell to a seven-month low in September as a relentless rise in COVID-19 cases deepened concerns about the economy’s near-term prospects.

* China’s net gold imports via Hong Kong in August fell modestly from the previous month, Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department data showed on Tuesday.

* Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, slipped to 990.03 tonnes on Tuesday from 990.32 tonnes the day before.

* Silver rose 0.1% to $22.46 per ounce.

* Platinum eased 0.1% to $966.03, while palladium rose 1% to $1,895.47.

DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0900 EU Consumer Confid. Final Sept 1545 Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, ECB President Christine Lagarde, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda and the Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey speak at the ECB Forum on Central Banking (Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)