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Gold touches 7-week peak on weak dollar after Trump briefing

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Gold prices surged above $1,200 an ounce to the highest in seven weeks on Thursday as the dollar slumped after U.S. President-elect Donald Trump failed to mention fiscal stimulus in his first news conference.

Analysts warned, however, that gold's revival since mid-December may be running out of steam because the dollar was likely to rebound once Trump moves forward with his economic plans.

Spot gold was up 0.40 percent at $1,196.26 per ounce by 2:57 p.m. ET, after touching a high of $1,206.98, its strongest since Nov. 23.

U.S. gold futures fell 0.02 percent to $1,196.4 per ounce.

In his first media conference as U.S. president-elect, Trump delivered a wide-ranging briefing that lasted longer than expected but contained no details on tax cuts and infrastructure spending, analysts said.

That sent the dollar index, which tracks the currency against a basket of six major counterparts, sliding to the lowest in nearly a month, having hit a one-week high on Wednesday.

"It's a mess frankly, which is a reflection of the fact that there's no clarity on U.S. economic policy. The Fed is as confused as the rest of us, judging from the minutes of the December meeting," said Tom Kendall, head of precious metals strategy at ICBC Standard Bank.

"For the time being, I'm sticking to my thesis that this move can go a bit further, but we're running out of steam."

Gold has gained 7 percent since hitting a 10-1/2 month low on Dec. 15.

Trump's calls for tax cuts and more infrastructure spending have boosted U.S. shares and the dollar, as well as driving a selloff in Treasuries, but his protectionist statements and a flurry of off-the-cuff Tweets have kept many investors from adding to risky positions.

"The biggest threat to gold in the first quarter is if the new Trump administration can push forward an aggressive fiscal agenda, in particular a tax incentive for U.S. corporations to repatriate earnings held offshore," Kendall said.

Expectations of a stronger U.S. economy and higher interest rates would likely cap gold, said Carsten Menke, commodities research analyst at Julius Baer in Switzerland.

"Despite moving back to $1,200 per ounce, we see no lasting recovery for gold," he wrote. "The market lacked support from physical buying ... which we believe is a precondition for a lasting recovery."

The outlook for U.S. rates may become a little clearer when Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen appears at a webcast town hall meeting with educators on Thursday.

Spot silver rose 0.16 percent to $16.855 an ounce after hitting a four-week high of $16.98.

Platinum climbed 0.68 percent to $983.00, after touching a high of $990.10, its strongest since Nov. 10.

Palladium added 0.48 percent to $757.60.