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PRECIOUS-Sturdy dollar, looming rate hikes push gold to worst week in four

    * Gold down over 2% this week
    * U.S. dollar on track for weekly gain

 (Updates prices)
    By Kavya Guduru
    Sept 16 (Reuters) - Gold prices rose on Friday as the dollar
stalled, but gains in the greenback over the week and
expectations of a sizeable U.S. rate hike kept bullion well
below the key $1,700 mark and en route to its worst week in
four.
    Spot gold        was 0.5% higher at $1,672.48 per ounce by
2:08 p.m. ET (1808 GMT). U.S. gold futures        settled 0.4%
higher at $1,683.50.
    "We saw the dollar turn negative... an acceleration lower on
U.S. equities, which may have sparked a bit" of buying, said
Phillip Streible, chief market strategist at Blue Line Futures
in Chicago.     
    Gold prices were still down about 2.5% so far this week,
having earlier slid to their lowest since April 2020. 
    Gold failed to capitalize on fears of rising U.S. recession
risks through the week, and was "not even perceived as a
safe-haven" on occasion, Streible added.
                        
    Offering some reprieve to gold, the dollar briefly turned
negative before stalling       . But it was still bound for a
weekly gain, making gold more expensive for overseas buyers.
      
    Markets see a 75% chance of a 75-basis-point rate hike by
the Federal Reserve next week and a 25% chance of a 100-bps
increase.           
    Although gold is considered a hedge against economic risks,
rising interest rates make non-yielding bullion less appealing.
    "It's likely that sudden panic about the potential for
100bps hike after the ugly CPI report contributed to the big
drop," said Tai Wong, a senior trader at Heraeus Precious Metals
in New York.
    "However, that remains unlikely and gold is seeing physical
demand pushing a short market ahead of a semi-long weekend with
London out on Monday." 
    Meanwhile, physical gold demand picked up in India as
domestic prices fell ahead of key festivals, while Chinese
premiums climbed.         
    Silver        gained 1.2% to $19.39 per ounce. 
    Platinum        fell 0.2% to $902.50, and palladium       
dropped 1.1% to $2,112.30. 

 (Reporting by Kavya Guduru in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirsten
Donovan and Shinjini Ganguli)
  
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