PRECIOUS-Gold falls to 1-month low as Fed affirms rate-hiking stance

(Updates prices, adds comment)

* Gold set for worst week since mid August

* Dollar index holds near multi-month highs

* Silver on course for biggest drop since February

By Karthika Suresh Namboothiri

Nov 9 (Reuters) – Gold fell to its lowest in a month on Friday as the U.S. dollar strengthened after the Federal Reserve reaffirmed its monetary tightening stance, seen as a negative for non-yielding bullion.

The Fed held interest rates steady on Thursday but is widely expected to raise interest rates in December – which would be its fourth hike this year – as it pointed to a healthy economy marred only by a dip in the growth of business investment.

Spot gold was down 1.3 percent at $1,207.91 per ounce at 11:57 a.m. EST (1657 GMT), having touched its lowest since Oct. 11 at $1,206.72. It was on track to end the week more than 2 percent lower, the steepest weekly decline since the week of Aug. 17.

U.S. gold futures fell 1.3 percent to $1,208.8 per ounce.

“The Fed’s announcement caused the dollar to strengthen and the outlook for higher U.S. interest rates has gold on the defense,” said Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at RJO Futures.

Higher interest rates would be bullish for the dollar because investors from other parts of the world would rather convert local currencies to the greenback versus going into gold, he said.

The dollar index, tracking it against six major currencies, climbed, setting its sights on a 16-month high hit on Oct. 31.

Also weighing on overall commodity market sentiment, was a decline in oil prices, with benchmark Brent crude falling to its lowest since early April.

“Gold is re-establishing its relationship with the crude oil market,” said Miguel Perez-Santalla, vice president of Heraeus Metal Management in New York.

Gold can be used as a hedge against inflation fueled by higher oil prices.

Meanwhile, silver dropped about 2 percent to $14.13 per ounce, having touched its lowest since Sept. 18. The metal was headed for its worst week since February.

“With gold down 1 percent, it would be pretty hard for silver or platinum or palladium to rally,” RJO Futures’ Haberkorn said.

Platinum shed 1.3 percent to $853 an ounce, while palladium fell nearly 1.3 percent to $1,110.10. (Reporting by Karthika Suresh Namboothiri in Bengaluru; Editing by Susan Thomas and Bernadette Baum)

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