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Gold retreats from 7 week top as dollar bounces back

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Gold edged lower on Tuesday as the dollar recovered and global shares rose, but uncertainty about the timing of a U.S. interest rate increase kept bullion not far from a seven-week high above $1,200 an ounce.

Bullion rose to its highest since Feb. 17 on Monday, supported by a weakening dollar after U.S. non-farm payrolls data fuelled expectations that the Federal Reserve could delay an anticipated rate increase this year.

``Bulls are frustrated yet again to see rallies fade ...momentum buying is mostly seen as an opportunity to sell into,'' bullion broker Sharps Pixley Chief Executive Ross Norman said.

Spot gold was down 0.4 percent at $1,210 an ounce, while U.S. gold for June delivery slipped 0.7 percent to settle at $1,210.60 an ounce

The dollar rose 0.8 percent versus a basket of major currencies, aided by higher Treasury yields, while European shares also climbed, denting gold's appeal as an insurance against risk.

A stronger greenback makes dollar-denominated bullion more expensive for holders of other currencies, while returns on U.S. bonds are closely watched by the gold market, given that the metal pays no interest.

Gold is likely to continue to depend on movements in the dollar and expectations of higher U.S. interest rates, ActivTrades chief analyst Carlo Alberto de Casa said.

New York Fed President William Dudley said the timing of the U.S. rate rise, which would be the first in nearly a decade, is unclear and policymakers must watch that the U.S. economy's surprising recent weakness does not signal a more substantial slowdown.

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Growth in U.S. services sector slowed in March to its lowest level in three months, but the index of new export orders rose to the highest level in more than two years.

But Asian physical demand remains tepid at current levels.

The premium for physical gold on the Shanghai Gold Exchange was less than a dollar an ounce over the global spot benchmark on Tuesday, down from around $2-$3 last week as Chinese buyers returned from a long holiday weekend.

"The gold price right now for a Chinese consumer is not cheap, it needs to be cheaper," said Victor Thianpiriya, analyst at Australia and New Zealand Bank.