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Gold Futures Settle At Near 2-week Low

Gold futures ended notably lower on Thursday, weighed down by rising bond yields and uncertainty about U.S. interest rate cuts.

Gold prices stayed below the unchanged line as traders awaited cues from a key central bankers' gathering in the United States on Friday. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will speak for the first time since bond markets hit the recession alarm bells.

The dollar index dropped to a low of 98.08 around mid-morning. Then, after swiftly edging up to 98.25, eased to 98.16. The index had settled at 98.30 on Wednesday.

Gold futures for December ended down $7.20, or about 0.5%, at $1,508.50 an ounce, the lowest settlement since August 9.

Silver futures for September ended down $0.111 at $17.040 an ounce, while copper futures for September settled lower by $0.0280 at $2.5575 per pound.

In economic news, data released by the Labor Department said first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell by much more than expected in the week ended August 17, dropping by 12,000 to 209,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to dip to 216,000 from the 220,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average inched up to 214,500, an increase of 500 from the previous week's revised average of 214,000.

A separate report released by the Conference Board showed its reading on leading U.S. economic indicators rose by a much more than anticipated 0.5% in the month of July. The index edged down by 0.1% in both May and June.

The minutes of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy meeting in late July, which were released on Wednesday, failed to provide any clarity about further U.S. interest rate cuts.

Traders also looked ahead to the Group of Seven summit this weekend for clues on what additional steps policymakers may take to boost growth.

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