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Gold slips as equities recover after Greek vote

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Gold fell 1 percent on Monday as traders cashed in gains that took the metal to five-month highs last week, with the wider markets recovering ground lost after an anti-austerity party won elections in Greece.

Greek leftist leader Alexis Tsipras, whose Syriza party swept to victory in a snap election on Sunday, was set to become prime minister of the first euro zone government openly opposed to bailout conditions imposed by the European Union and International Monetary Fund during the economic crisis.

Greek stocks fell on the news, but European equities rose 0.2 percent, as the market focused on the positive impact of the European Central Bank's bond-buying plan unveiled last week.

Spot gold was down 1 percent at $1,280 an ounce. U.S. gold futures for February delivery settled $13.21 lower, at $1,279.40 an ounce.

As far as the election was concerned, "the market expected what we got", Saxo Bank's head of research Ole Hansen said. Gold's rise to its highest since mid-August last week left it overstretched, he said, and it gave back some of that ground once the uncertainty surrounding the election was resolved.

"But with trust in central banks reduced, I see this as a buying opportunity once support has been confirmed," he added.

Among currencies, the euro recovered early losses to rise 0.2 percent against the dollar. The single currency hit an 11-year low on Monday after the election results.

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Gold has gained about 9 percent so far this month, largely due to safe-haven demand sparked by falling oil prices and European uncertainties.

Improving sentiment has been seen in investor positioning. Speculators raised bullish bets on gold futures and options for a fourth week in the week ending Jan. 20, while holdings of gold-backed exchange-traded funds have also increased.

CME Group's Asian gold contract began trading in Hong Kong on Monday. The 1 kg physically settled contract <GCKJ5> was trading at a premium of $2-$3 an ounce over the global benchmark.

The launch of the CME contract within six months of new contracts in Singapore and China underscores a desire in top consuming region Asia to have price benchmarks that reflect regional market dynamics, although liquidity has been a problem.

Silver was down 1.6 percent at $17.98 an ounce, while platinum was down 0.7 percent at $1,253.25 an ounce and palladium was down 0.8 percent at $765 an ounce.