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Gold Dips on Firm USD, Mixed Fed Signals; Focus on U.S. Data

* Gold may test support at $1,769/oz - technicals

* Dollar index hovers below 11-week high

* Two Fed officials say inflation pressures may last some time (Adds details and updates prices)

June 24 (Reuters) - Gold prices edged lower on Thursday, pressured by a steady dollar, while investors attempted to navigate mixed signals from Federal Reserve officials on interest rate hike and awaited more U.S. economic data to gauge inflationary pressures.

Spot gold was down 0.3% at $1,774.32 per ounce by 0452 GMT. U.S. gold futures fell 0.5% to $1,774.40.

The dollar index held firm near an 11-week high against its rivals.

“With a lack of clear direction and contradictory themes coming from Fed officials and the news headlines, expect gold to continue its choppy range-bound trading,” Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at OANDA said.

“The market remains nervous about earlier lift-off entrenched inflation type headlines and so gold will remain a sell on rallies into the end of the week.”

Two Fed officials on Wednesday said that a period of high inflation in the United States may last longer than anticipated, a day after Fed Chair Jerome Powell downplayed inflation worries and signalled interest rates would not be hiked too quickly.

However, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic expects interest rates will need to rise in late 2022 as inflation is well above Fed’s 2% target.

Gold is often seen as a hedge against inflation, though a rate hike by the Fed will increase the opportunity cost of holding bullion and dull its appeal.

Investor focus has now shifted to U.S. producer price inflation data due on Friday, apart from jobless claims expected later in the day. U.S. non-farm payrolls are due next week.

Spot gold is biased to downside and may test a support at $1,769 per ounce, a break below which could open the way towards the range of $1,734-$1,744 range, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

Silver was steady at $25.85 per ounce, palladium gained 0.2% to $2,617.86. Platinum eased 0.7% to $1,076.14.

(Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Arundhati Sarkar; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

Source: Reuters

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