Gold prices edged lower in early Asian hours on Monday after hitting a two-week high in the last session, weighed by a slight uptick in U.S. Treasury yields, although expectations that U.S. rates have peaked underpinned bullion.


* Spot gold was down 0.2% at $1,975.80 per ounce as of 0043 GMT, after rising 2.2% last week. U.S. gold futures slipped 0.3% to $1,978.50.

* Benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yields edged up to 4.4647% after dropping to a two-month low, decreasing the appeal of non-interest bearing gold.

* Data pointing to a slowing jobs market in the United States and a weaker-than-expected consumer inflation report last week prompted market participants to revise their forecasts for future Federal Reserve action.

* Traders now widely expect the Fed to leave rates unchanged at its Dec. 12-13 policy meeting, according to the CME FedWatch tool.

* Lower interest rates exert downward pressure on the dollar and bond yields, enhancing the appeal of non-yielding bullion.

* Meanwhile, the dollar languished near more than a two-month low against its rivals, making gold less expensive for other currency holders.

* SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose 1.49% to 883.43 tonnes on Friday from 870.45 tonnes on Thursday.

* Investors now look forward to minutes from the U.S. central bank's last meeting for more clarity on the interest rate path.

* Asian shares got off to a slow start on Monday in what will be a holiday-shortened week and with market valuations looking a little stretched given they have already priced in aggressive global policy easing for next year.

* In the Middle East, U.S. and Israeli officials said a deal to free some of the hostages held in the besieged enclave was edging closer despite fierce fighting in Gaza.

* Spot silver rose 0.6% to $23.83 per ounce, while platinum was flat at $892.58. Palladium eased 0.2% to $1,035.77 per ounce.

DATA/EVENTS (GMT) 0115 China Loan Prime Rate 1Y Nov 0115 China Loan Prime Rate 5Y Nov (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru Editing by Chris Reese)