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Gold ends 2014 at $1,184.10 an ounce; down 1.5% for the year

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Gold ended 2014 below $1,200 an ounce as investors worried about tensions in Russia and political uncertainty in Greece.

U.S. gold futures for February delivery settled at $1,184.10 an ounce, down 1.5 percent for the year.

Spot gold was last down 1.6 percent at $1,180 an ounce. On Tuesday, the metal climbed to $1,209.90, its highest in nearly two weeks, as concerns over tension between Russia and the West weakened the dollar and stock markets.

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Prices were relatively less volatile in 2014 compared to last year's 28 percent slide and $500 trading range. Despite falling to a 4-1/2 year low in November, gold has traded in a $260 range for the year.

Gold's main driver in 2014 has been a buoyant dollar, which was poised to post its biggest yearly gain since 2005, and anticipated U.S. interest rate hikes may strengthen its appeal in the coming year. Higher rates weigh on non-interest-bearing bullion.

On Wednesday, the dollar was down 0.1 percent against a basket of main currencies, while European stocks edged higher, after suffering from uncertainty in Greece ahead of a January election in the previous session.

``Considering the strong dollar performance in 2014, gold's downside this year has been a little bit protected by international political events that have attracted some safe-haven buying, especially in the first half,'' ABN Amro commodity strategist Georgette Boele said.

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``But a new drop in gold prices driven by a stronger dollar and higher U.S. interest rate expectations is likely in 2015, when we see prices average $1,000 an ounce.''

Physical demand for gold was boosted by the holiday season and upcoming Lunar New Year celebrations in China, when gold is bought for good fortune and to be given as gifts, traders said.