Gold futures were little changed Monday, stuck below the $1,800-an-ounce threshold as the U.S. dollar kicked off the week with a firm tone.

Gold for December delivery


was off 90 cents, or 0.1%, at $1,791.20 an ounce on Comex. December silver

fell 25 cents, or 1%, to $23.65 an ounce.

Traders appeared to be positioning themselves in preparation for the August U.S. Consumer Price Index, or CPI, reading due Tuesday, said Carsten Fritsch, analyst at Commerzbank, in a note.

Fritsch expects inflation to come in near July levels, and therefore “likely to provide arguments for the Fed to begin withdrawing its bond purchases before the year is out.”

A rise in Treasury yields could be a headwind for gold, as it would raise the opportunity cost of holding nonyielding assets. A stronger dollar is also a negative for commodities priced in the unit, making them more expensive to users of other currencies.

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index
a measure of the currency against a basket of six major rivals, rose 0.3%. Treasury yields were mixed.

But, Fritsch said, Commerzbank economists don’t expect Fed policy makers to make any decisions at next week’s meeting on the fate of the central bank’s asset buying program.

“According to the prevailing market opinion, however, this is very likely to happen at one of the two subsequent meetings,” he said. “The inflation figures should therefore have no major impact on the gold price so long as they do not deviate noticeably from expectations.”

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