Gold dips in anticipation of U.S. inflation data

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  • Gold set for fourth weekly decline
  • Silver hits more than 2-month low
  • Platinum en route to first weekly gain in four
  • U.S. Consumer Price Index data due at 1330 GMT

Dec 10 (Reuters) - Gold dropped on Friday ahead of U.S. consumer price data for November, which some investors expect could prompt the Federal Reserve to start stimulus tapering and interest rate hikes earlier than anticipated.

Spot gold was down 0.2% to $1,771.50 per ounce at 1243 GMT. U.S. gold futures fell 0.2% to $1,772.50.

"The focus is on the inflation data and if we will get a strong print then the dollar should appreciate, bond yields should rise, maybe stock markets could rise as well, but the gold price will probably be down in response to it," said Commerzbank analyst Daniel Briesemann.

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There are expectations the November figure could be more than 6.8%, which would increase pressure on the Fed to end tapering sooner and start raising rates, Briesemann added.

Although gold is considered an inflation hedge, reduced stimulus and interest rate hikes tend to push government bond yields up, raising the opportunity cost of non-interest-bearing bullion.

Bullion was set for a fourth straight weekly decline, as investors exercised caution before the data, due at 1330 GMT, and the Fed policy meeting next week.

"The gold price falling for three consecutive weeks likely points to the market putting more weight on the spectre of the Fed's impending rate hike than the negative impact of rising inflation at this moment," said Vincent Tie, sales manager at dealer Silver Bullion in Singapore

"However, we continue to see gold demand from value-driven investors who are dollar-cost averaging their holdings with the price dipping under $1,800," Tie said.

Spot silver shed 0.4% to $21.85 per ounce, after slipping to its lowest since Sept. 30 at $21.78.

Platinum rose 1.1% to $944.57 per ounce and was on track for its first weekly gain in four. Palladium fell 2.1% to $1,774.46.

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Reporting by Asha Sistla and Nakul Iyer in Bengaluru Additional reporting by Bharat Govind Gautam Editing by Vinay Dwivedi, Mark Potter and Barbara Lewis

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