Gold prices flat as lofty U.S. dollar smothers appeal

Gold was flat on Monday, as a towering U.S. dollar put pressure on demand for greenback-priced bullion and pinned it near nine-month lows seen last week.

Spot gold held its ground at $1,742.08 per ounce at 02.21 GMT (7.51 IST). U.S. gold futures dipped 0.2 per cent to $1,739.60.

The dollar climbed back towards its highest level in about 20 years hit on Friday, keeping overseas buyers away from gold. [USD/]

"While gold prices remain below $1,753/oz it seems a move down to $1,720 is on the cards. Although there is some support around $1,730 … given the bearish trend overall

 any upside is likely to be a retracement, at best," said Matt Simpson, senior market analyst at City Index.

Gold marked a fourth straight weekly loss on Friday, having hit its lowest since late-September a few sessions prior,

 hurt by the dollar's ascent and bets for steep interest rate hikes gaining traction after healthy U.S. jobs data.

"Gold has had a large move lower, and there comes a point where the market needs to pause for breath. And that's what we are seeing on gold right now," Simpson said.

Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President Raphael Bostic, until recently among the U.S. central bank's most dovish policymakers,

on Friday said he "fully" supports another three quarters of a percentage point interest rate rise at the Fed's next policy meeting later this month.

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