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Gold Slightly Lower Ahead of Fed Meeting (Update 1)

Updated from 9:33 a.m. ET with current market information throughout.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Gold prices were dipping slightly lower on Monday as traders and investors prepared for the Federal Reserve's newest policy-making announcement, which is due Wednesday afternoon.

Gold for August delivery at the COMEX division of the CME was slipping $3.90 to $1,383.70 an ounce. The gold price traded as high as $1,391.40 and as low as $1,379.80 an ounce, while the spot price was sliding $6.21.

The Fed will release an updated statement on the federal fund rates and its monetary stimulus measures, and will simultaneously print its latest economic forecasts for the economy. Chairman Ben Bernanke expects to emerge shortly afterwards to hold a press conference on these issues.

Silver prices for July delivery were losing 17 cents to $21.78 an ounce, while the U.S. dollar index was adding 0.25% to $80.82.

The CME Group launched a new mini silver futures contract that began trading in Monday's session. The contract allows investors to open up a silver position of 1,000 ounces, which is smaller than the standard 5,000 ounce contract.

The idea is that at current low price levels it will encourage more investors and traders to open up positions in the relatively cheap silver market without the concern of larger margin requirements.

Senior Commodities Broker Phil Streible of RJO Futures said at near $21 an ounce it would cost about $105,000 for a standard contract, but the mini contract would sell at just $21,000. This could allow a trader or investor to accumulate warrants for delivery at just $21,000 and build towards a claim of 5,000 ounces of silver.

"It's a nice way of getting exposure to the market, not paying that additional premium by going to coin shops and pawn stores and trying to build that 1,000 ounces -- you could do it all at once," Streible said in an interview.

Gold mining stocks were mixed on Monday. Shares of Randgold Resources (GOLD) were dropping 1.4%, while shares of Agnico-Eagle Mines (AEM) were adding 0.73%.

Among volume leaders, Barrick Gold (ABX) was slipping 0.72%.

Gold ETF SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was falling 0.5% to $133.76, while iShares Gold Trust (IAU) was shedding 0.44% to $13.45 a share.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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