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LONDON: Gold fell on Friday en route to a third straight weekly dip as a firm dollar and looming rate hikes soured appetite for the non-yielding asset, while India’s import tax hike on bullion also dampened its demand prospects.

Spot gold was down 0.4% at $1,800.50 per ounce by 1500 GMT, and fell 1.4% for the week. US gold futures dipped 0.2% to $1,803.70. “The dollar is the biggest factor pressuring gold, with the bigger picture being rising interest rates,” said Chris Gaffney, president of world markets at TIAA Bank.

Investors also seemed to prefer the safety of the dollar amid growing recession fears on Friday, with the currency’s gains also making gold more expensive for overseas buyers.

Hawkish monetary policy from top central banks had pushed gold, which bears no interest, to its worst quarter in over a year.

Meanwhile, India, the world’s second biggest bullion consumer, raised its basic import duty on gold to 12.5% from 7.5% in an attempt to lower trade deficit.

This will immediately affect demand, even though the third quarter usually sees strong physical buying amid festivals, said Ajay Kedia, director at Kedia Commodities in Mumbai.

Physical gold dealers in India offered steep discounts this week as demand remained weak, with the tax hike likely to further sap interest.

Some US retail customers are also “kind of tightening their belts” questioning growth prospects and general inflation, TIAA’s Gaffney said.

Euro zone inflation hit another record high in June, firming the case for rapid ECB rate hikes starting this month.

Spot silver fell 2.7% to $19.70, and has dropped about 6.7% this week, its biggest weekly fall since Jan. 2022.

Spot platinum slipped 2.1% to $875.50 per ounce, and faces a fourth consecutive weekly fall. Palladium rose 0.7% at $1,950.36, gained about 3.2% this week.

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