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Gold steadies amid higher dollar, palladium hits 13-month high

Gold
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Gold steadied on Monday, retreating from a near three-week high hit in the previous session, as the dollar recovered from its lows, but uncertainty over the Federal Reserve's interest rates path limited losses.

Spot gold was up 0.24 percent at $1,360.80 an ounce. Bullion hit $1,355.10 on Friday, its highest since July 12, after much slower-than-expected U.S. economic growth weighed on the dollar.

U.S. gold settled up $2.10 at $1,359.60 and was last up 0.25 percent at $1,353.90.

"The Fed passed on a July rate hike, the dollar softened and the market is not pricing a rate hike now. For the moment that is all positive for gold," Citigroup strategist David Wilson said.

Other precious metals fared better on improved investor sentiment, with spot palladium hitting a 13-month high of $722.70 an ounce and spot silver touching a 3-week high of $20.64 an ounce. Silver is up 47 percent since the start of the year, outpacing gains in the rest of the precious metals complex.

Palladium was last up 0.46 percent at $714.25 an ounce, while silver was up 0.59 percent at $20.43 an ounce.

The U.S. Federal Reserve gave no hints of any near-term interest rate rise as some had expected it to at its monthly policy meeting last week.

Gold is highly sensitive to rising U.S. interest rates, as the opportunity cost of holding the non-yielding asset increases, while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced.

The dollar rose 0.18 percent against a basket of six currencies, crawling away from its lowest since July 5 hit on Friday. European equities dipped after a steadier start.

"Although equities are performing well, there is concern that that might be topping out, while the lack of clarity over the Fed's interest rates policy is providing a negative real yield environment that favours gold," ETF Securities analyst Martin Arnold said.

Top U.S. Fed policymakers held varying opinions about rate hikes, with Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan calling for caution, while San Francisco Fed President John Williams expected the central bank to raise interest rates up to two times before the year-end.

A sidelined Fed between now and the year-end should weaken the dollar, pushing gold to test July highs of $1,374, with an outside chance of getting to $1,400, INTL FCStone said in a note.

Markets will closely monitor this week's data, which includes the monthly non-farm payrolls report on Friday.

Speculators increased their net long position in COMEX silver contracts, but cut net long positions in gold, in the week to July 26.

Spot platinum, which hit over 14-month highs on Friday, rose 0.92 percent to $1,156.50 an ounce.