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PRECIOUS-Gold extends losses on dollar strength; central banks in focus

       * Gold down for fourth straight session
    * U.S. Fed Chair Powell to testify later in the day
    * EU could target Russia's gold in next set of sanctions

 (Updates prices)
    By Bharat Gautam
    June 22 (Reuters) - Gold prices eased on Wednesday as the
dollar firmed, although bullion still traded in a narrow range
as investors awaited fresh cues from top central banks on their
monetary policy plans, especially from the U.S. Federal Reserve.
    Spot gold        fell 0.3% to $1,826.41 per ounce by 0528
GMT, extending losses to a fourth straight session. U.S. gold
futures        dropped 0.6% to $1,827.40.
    The dollar        strengthened towards recent two-decade
peaks, making greenback-priced bullion more expensive for buyers
holding other currencies.
    "Gold is content to trade inversely to the U.S. dollar in a
sideways range at the moment, and we'll need a big directional
move from the greenback to change that," OANDA senior analyst
Jeffrey Halley said.
    Market participants are also eyeing Fed Chair Jerome
Powell's testimonies to be held in Washington D.C. this week.

    "If Powell is hawkish tonight, we could see another bout of
U.S. dollar strength as yields rise again. That would push gold
lower. Otherwise, I foresee minimal impact," Halley added.
    The Fed will likely deliver another 75 basis point (bp) rate
hike in July, followed by a 50 bp rise in September, and won't
scale back to quarter-percentage point moves until November at
the earliest, according to a Reuters poll.
    Higher interest rates and bond yields increase the
opportunity cost of holding gold, which yields nothing.
    Meanwhile, gold could be among assets that may be targeted
in a possible next round of European Union sanctions on Russia,
a draft document showed.
    Looking ahead, spot gold may test a support at $1,821 per
ounce, with a good chance of breaking below this level and
falling to $1,812, according to Reuters' technical analyst Wang
Tao.
    Spot silver        dropped 1.3% to $21.38 per ounce,
platinum        fell 0.5% to $933.36, and palladium
dropped 0.5% to $1,869.20.



 (Reporting by Bharat Govind Gautam in Bengaluru; Editing by
Uttaresh.V and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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