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Gold edges up from 5-week low on weaker dollar

Gold
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Gold rose on Thursday, lifting from a five-week low hit in earlier trade, helped by a lower dollar, Sweden's surprise decision to launch monetary stimulus and heightened uncertainty over Greece's debt.

Spot gold fell to its lowest since Jan. 9 at $1,216.45 an ounce, before recovering to trade up 0.3 percent at $1,223 per ounce. U.S. gold for April delivery edged up 0.2 percent at $1,222 an ounce.

"The only thing that is pushing up gold a little bit is the lower dollar after the BoJ media report and also the Riksbank's aggressive monetary action,'' ABN Amro analyst Georgette Boele said.

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Sweden's Riksbank cut its key repo rate into negative territory and said it would soon make purchases of government bonds with maturities from one year up to around five years for a sum of 10 billion Swedish crowns.

Gold lost 1.2 percent on Wednesday when the dollar hit a three-week peak against a basket of major currencies. It fell as much as 1 percent versus the yen on Thursday on a media report that more monetary stimulus from the Bank of Japan (BoJ) would be counterproductive.

The dollar index fell 0.7 percent after weaker-than-expected U.S. weekly jobless claims data.There is a great deal of uncertainty about the geopolitical and macroeconomic situation and gold continues to react to developments but as long as the Federal Reserve remains on course for tightening, the underlying trend is downwards,''

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Macquarie analyst Matthew Turner said. Global shares rose as investors welcomed a ceasefire agreement between Russia and Ukraine and surprising stimulus measures by Sweden's central bank.

Financial markets had been under pressure because euro zone finance ministers were unable to agree with Greece on a final statement or a way to continue talks until their next meeting on Monday to extend an international bailout.

Gold's sell-off for much of this week, despite the Greek debt crisis, could be an indication that markets are expecting an ultimately positive resolution. Gold is usually seen as an insurance against risk, with demand typically increasing in times of financial and political uncertainty.

But an interest rates hike by the U.S. central bank, which has kept rates near zero since 2008 to stimulate the U.S. economy, could further strengthen the dollar and in turn hurt demand for bullion, a non-interest-bearing asset.

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Gold demand hit a five-year low last year as buying of jewelry, coins and bars failed to keep pace with 2013's elevated levels, particularly in major consumer China, the World Gold Council said on Thursday.

Silver rose 0.4 percent to $16.82 an ounce. Platinum gained 0.9 percent at $1,202 an ounce, while palladium was up 0.2 percent at $767 an ounce.