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Gold ends lower around $1,204 an ounce

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Gold settled lower on Tuesday as the dollar eased against a basket of currencies, helping the metal to recover from early losses that briefly pulled it below $1,200 an ounce.

U.S. gold for April delivery closed down $3.80, at $1,204.40 an ounce.

Spot gold was down 0.3 percent at $1,203 an ounce, having dropped by nearly 1 percent to a session low of $1,194.90 as the dollar hovered around 11-year highs, helped by rising Treasury yields.

"Prices ... seem to be forming a nice technical base in the low $1,190s," Deutsche Boerse's MNI senior analyst Tony Walters said.

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"Gold ... clearly found some support around $1,200 at the start of this month and people are still looking at U.S. data," NRC Commodities analyst Andrey Kryuchenkov said.

Markets will be watching Friday's U.S. non-farm payrolls numbers and next week's launch of outright money-printing by the European Central Bank, he added.

The dollar eased from an 11-year peak hit earlier versus a basket of currencies, helping demand for the metal.

Expectations for an increase in U.S. interest rates were likely to limit bullion's gains in the short term, keeping it below Monday's two-week high of $1,223.20. Gold fell 5.5 percent in February, its biggest monthly loss in five months, with the strengthening economy increasing the chance the Federal Reserve will raise rates this year for the first time since 2006.

"Despite most people swaying back and forth on the timing of the U.S. rate hike, there is still consensus that it will happen this year," said Mark To, head of research at Hong Kong's Wing Fung Financial Group.

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Seven of the Fed's 17 members have said they at least want the option of a rate rise in June on the table, or have pushed in general for an earlier increase in the expectation that wages and inflation will turn higher.

Structural reforms in China, aimed at a more sustainable pace of economic growth, would also keep gold demand in check, To said.

Most analysts expect China's gold imports via main conduit Hong Kong to recover this year but to stay below the record 1,158.16 tons imported in 2013.