Gold flat after last session's retreat from 1-1/2-month high

Spot gold was little changed at $1,792.95 per ounce

  
Gold bars are seen at the Kazakhstan's National Bank vault in Almaty, Kazakhstan, September 30, 2016.

Gold bars are seen at the Kazakhstan's National Bank vault in Almaty, Kazakhstan, September 30, 2016.

REUTERS/Mariya Gordeyeva/File Photo

Gold prices held steady on Monday after cutting gains in the prior session on U.S. Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell's comment that inflation could ease next year and the central bank was on track to start tapering its stimulus.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was little changed at $1,792.95 per ounce by 0148 GMT. U.S. gold futures fell 0.1% to $1,793.70.

* The metal rallied to its highest since early September on Friday before trimming gains on Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's comments on tapering. 

* Powell said it was not time for the Fed to raise interest rates, especially given employment was still low. 

* Gold is often considered an inflation hedge, though reduced stimulus and interest rate hikes push government bond yields up, translating into a higher opportunity cost for holding bullion which pays no interest.

* Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Sunday the United States was not losing control of inflation, and inflation could return to normal by the second half of next year. 

* Furthering pressuring gold, the dollar steadied after its steepest weekly loss in more than a month. A stronger dollar makes bullion less appealing to buyers holding other currencies. 

* Speculators cut their net long positions in gold in the week to Oct. 19, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data released on Friday showed. 

* Market participants now eye the Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank (ECB) meeting on Thursday. Neither of the two central banks are expected to change policy but market indicators suggested higher inflation than the ECB's guidance. 

* Spot silver was flat at $24.31 per ounce. Platinum rose 0.1% to $1,041.26 per ounce and palladium gained 0.7% to $2,035.77.

DATA/EVENTS (GMT, Oct) 0800 Germany Ifo Business Climate New

(Reporting by Nakul Iyer in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu) ((nakul.iyer@thomsonreuters.com; Within U.S. +1 646 223 8780, Outside U.S. +91 80 6749 0417; Reuters Messaging: nakul.iyer.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))


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