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AMSTERDAM/LONDON: Gold struggled for traction and was heading for a weekly dip on Friday as a stronger dollar, firmer yields and equity markets chipped away at its appeal. Spot gold fell 0.4% to $1,799.84 per ounce by 10:04 pm EDT (1404 GMT). US gold futures slipped 0.2% to $1,801.00.

Bullion has shed 0.7% this week after briefly moving towards last week's one-month peak as fears over rising delta variant COVID-19 cases have eased, driving investors to equities as risk appetite returned.

"The gold market is seeking out a fresh fundamental driver and there really isn't one," said Jim Wyckoff, senior analyst with Kitco Metals, noting that weaker real yields and a jump in COVID-19 cases were not enough to move prices higher. "Technical traders are taking over because of the lack of fundamentals and gold's near-term technical posture has turned negative, inviting some traders to short the market."

Heaping pressure on the metal, was a stronger dollar index which held close to a 3-1/2-month peak and firmer benchmark treasury yields. Higher yields tend to weigh on gold which pays no interest as it translates into an increased opportunity cost of holding the metal.

Market focus now turns to next week's US Federal Reserve meeting for more clues on monetary policy after the European Central Bank on Thursday pledged to keep interest rates at record lows for some time. Silver fell 1.4% to $25.09 per ounce, and was set for a third consecutive weekly fall.

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