Gold holds near one-week high as dollar wilts

New York (April 9)  Gold edged up Tuesday to hold near its highest in more than a week, supported by a retreating dollar and by increased buying by central banks.

Spot gold was up 0.4 percent at $1,301.64 per ounce, at 0958 GMT. It touched its highest since March 28 at $1,303.61 in the previous session. U.S. gold futures were up 0.3 percent at $1,305.8 an ounce.

"Seeing something of a correction in the U.S. dollar, which has been helpful laterally. Gold seems to have found a floor," said Ross Norman, chief executive at Sharps Pixley.

Central banks had extended 2018's record levels of gold buying into this year, he said. "So every day there may be small and minor countries with modest amounts to buy, but collectively it tells you something."

The dollar index fell to its lowest in more than a week on Tuesday following subdued U.S. data and gains in commodity-linked currencies driven by surging oil prices. Gold is considered a hedge against oil-led inflation.

New orders for U.S.-made goods fell modestly in February after nonfarm payrolls data last week signalled a slowdown in wage growth. "The decline in wage inflation takes the pressure off the U.S. Federal Reserve and lets it remain dovish and delay rate hikes or maybe switch gears, and that's supportive for gold," said Ilya Spivak, senior currency strategist at DailyFX.

Investors are awaiting minutes of the Fed's March meeting, due on Wednesday. China, the world's biggest gold consumer, raised its gold reserves for a fourth straight month in March, when Turkey also increased its holdings. But holdings of the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust , fell for a sixth straight session to 760.49 tonnes on Monday. Among other precious metals, spot platinum slipped 0.4 percent to $901.44 per ounce, after touching its highest since end-May last year in the previous session.

Palladium was up 0.2 percent at $1,385.56 an ounce, while silver gained 0.3 percent at $15.28.


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