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Gold touches two-month high as Trump uncertainty hits dollar

Gold
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Gold rose on Monday, touching its highest in two months as unease over the economic policies of U.S. President Donald Trump pushed investors towards safer assets while the dollar and U.S. bond yields fell.

Trump at his inauguration promised to put "America first", while his administration said it would withdraw from or renegotiate important trade agreements, raising fears that a protectionist White House could reduce global trade.

Uncertainty over Trump's policies sent the dollar to a 1-1/2 month low against a basket of currencies, while bond yields slipped from recent highs.

A weaker dollar makes gold cheaper for holders of other currencies, while lower yields reduce the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

Spot gold was up 0.56 percent at $1,216.33 an ounce. It earlier touched $1,219.43, its highest since Nov. 22. U.S. gold futures settled $10.70 higher at $1,215.60.

"The story is one of a weaker dollar and political uncertainty," said Danske Bank analyst Jens Pedersen.

Gold finished last week up 1 percent for its fourth straight week of gains and longest consecutive string of weekly increases since July.

Underscoring the bullish view, data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) showed that speculators raised their net long positions in COMEX gold contracts for a second week in the week to Jan. 17.

"Momentum indicators are biased to the upside," said ScotiaMocatta analysts, targeting $1,255.70 an ounce.

But gold faces resistance, at $1,219, that it may struggle to break, Reuters' technical analysis shows.

And despite his protectionist measures, Trump's plans for government spending, tax cuts and deregulation would be likely o boost the dollar and U.S. stocks if enacted.

"That is going to take some of the wind out of gold as an alternative investment or as a risk hedge," said Mitsubishi analyst Jonathan Butler.

Trump said on Monday that he believed that his administration could cut U.S. regulations governing companies by 75 percent or more.

If Trump's policies deliver faster economic growth, the U.S. Federal Reserve could raise interest rates this year at a faster rate than investors expect, said Butler, leading to higher bond yields that would dampen demand for gold.

Among other precious metals, palladium was down 1.57 percent at $776.00, having earlier touched $795.60, its highest since May 2015.

Analysts at Julius Baer said that investors had been too optimistic after palladium, which is used in the automotive industry for emission-controlling catalytic converters, jumped 4.8 percent last week.

Car sales this year in China and the U.S. would fall short of investors' hopes and "a dent is looming," they said.

Silver rose 0.93 percent to $17.19 while platinum gained 0.77 percent to $983.50.