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PRECIOUS-Gold dips to near 2-month low as sharp rate-hike bets bolster dollar

    * Gold has lost more than $380 since March 
    * Markets weighing risk of 100 bps hike next week -analyst
    * U.S. August retail sales data due at 1230 GMT

 (Updates prices)
    By Arundhati Sarkar
    Sept 15 (Reuters) - Gold prices fell to a near two-month low
on Thursday, trading below the $1,700 mark once again, as
increased prospects of more aggressive rate hikes by the Federal
Reserve continue to weigh.
    Spot gold        fell 0.6% to $1,685.79 per ounce by 1209
GMT, after touching its lowest since July 21. U.S. gold futures
       were down 0.8% to $1,694.80.
    "The gold market has clearly priced in a more aggressive
U.S. Federal Reserve ahead of next week's meeting, reflecting
the central bank's determination to fight inflation," said
Carsten Menke, Head Next Generation Research at Julius Baer.
    While the consensus is for a 75-basis-point (bps) hike, some
are calling for a 100 bps increase which is partly reflected in
the gold market, Menke said, adding that a 75 bps hike could
thus come as a positive surprise for the gold market.           
    The dollar index        held near a two-decade peak scaled
last week, as a surprise rise in U.S. August inflation boosted
bets for an even more aggressive Fed monetary policy. A stronger
dollar makes greenback-priced gold expensive for overseas
buyers.                   
    Non-yielding gold, which is highly sensitive to rising U.S.
interest rates as it stands to lose out to other assets that pay
interest, has declined more than $380 since its March peak, when
the Fed raised rates for the first time since 2018.
    Meanwhile, International Monetary Fund chief Kristalina
Georgieva said on Wednesday central bankers must be persistent
in fighting broad-based inflation.             
    "The higher CPI print is the main driver of the weaker gold
price," said UBS analyst Giovanni Staunovo, adding "higher
interest rates are likely triggering outflows from gold
holdings."          
    Traders will now be watching U.S. retail sales and
industrial production data later in the day. 
    Spot silver        fell 1.6% to $19.3663 per ounce, while
platinum        rose 0.8% to $913.00.
    Palladium        shed 0.4% to $2,155.97.

 (Reporting by Arundhati Sarkar in Bengaluru; editing by Kirsten
Donovan and Jason Neely)
  
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