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Gold slips as dollar recovers

PROSPECTING GOLD
AP

Gold lost earlier gains on Thursday, as the dollar recovered after the European Central Bank kept up its economic stimulus program.

Spot gold was down 0.59 percent at $1,336.96 an ounce. U.S. gold futures settled down $7.60 at $1,341.60, and were last down 0.62 percent to $1,340.80.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, was up 0.1 percent at 95.06.

The European Central Bank, as expected, kept its already loose policy stance unchanged on Thursday, holding rates at record lows and promising to keep its 80 billion euro ($90.4 billion) monthly asset buying program going at least until next March.

Gold had strong gains on Friday when weak U.S. jobs data led investors to bet that a September rate rise was no longer on the cards, sending the dollar spiraling down.

"We had another couple of data points this week in the U.S. that pointed perhaps to the economy not yet being strong enough to sustain another interest rate rise in the short term," said Mitsubishi analyst Jonathan Butler.

"With a week or so to go before the FOMC meeting, I think generally we'll see a supportive environment for gold, but also quite a bit of choppy trading as sentiment changes."

Rising U.S. interest rates increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion and boost the dollar, in which gold is priced.

"There are just not enough (assets) for the ECB to buy. If we see more buying, it will give a fillip to gold," said Jeffrey Halley, business development and market strategist at OANDA Asia Pacific.

A weaker dollar makes gold less expensive for holders of other currencies.

"As long as the dollar remains weak, we can see gold test $1,350 and make its way up to $1,375-$1,380 levels," he said.

Spot gold faces resistance at $1,352 an ounce and could either hover below this level or retrace to support at $1,327, said Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

Platinum fell 0.44 percent to $1,080.20 an ounce, having hit a two-week peak on Wednesday.

In its latest Platinum Quarterly report, the World Platinum Investment Council forecast a 520,000 ounce deficit in the platinum market this year, up from a 455,000 ounce shortfall predicted three months previously.

Palladium was down 0.25 percent at $685.25. On Wednesday the metal scaled its highest in more than two weeks.

Spot silver fell 0.78 percent to $19.61, having touched its highest in more than three weeks in the previous session.