* Technical signals for gold seen as positive-analyst
* Palladium retreats from Wednesday's 17-year high
* GRAPHIC-2017 asset returns: http://tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl
(Updates throughout, adds LONDON dateline) LONDON, Dec 28 (Reuters) - Gold hit a one-month high on Thursday, rallying for a ninth straight session as a retreat in the dollar on the back of lower U.S. bond yields drove gains in commodities priced in the currency. The metal is also benefiting from technically driven momentum after closing above its 100-day moving average on Wednesday for the first time since late November, analysts said.
Spot gold was up 0.4 percent at $1,291.74 an ounce at
1030 GMT, having earlier touched its highest since Nov. 29 at
$1,293.25 an ounce. U.S. gold futures for February
delivery were up $2.80 an ounce at $1,294.20. "The weakness in the dollar is playing its part," Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at ThinkMarkets, said. "We do think that this trend will continue into 2018. We expect the gold price to finish the year above $1,300 mark, and that would send a strong buy signal for traders." The dollar came under pressure on Thursday from a recent dip in U.S. 10-year bond yields, reaching its lowest in nearly four weeks against a basket of currencies. That helped drive broad gains across commodities, with
benchmark Brent crude oil futures near their highest since mid 2015, and copper at a four-year peak.
The dollar index is down more than 9 percent so far this year, and is on course for its biggest annual loss since 2003. A weakening dollar has helped lift gold nearly 5 percent from the near five-month low of $1,235.92 it hit in mid-December after the Federal Reserve raised U.S. interest rates. The metal is highly sensitive to rising rates, which increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion. Its rise has picked up further momentum in the last week from positive technical factors, analysts said. Gold is heavily influenced by chart signals, identified by analysts who study past trading patterns to determine future moves. "(The rally) has seen gold march up and close at the 100-day moving average in yet another positive technical development," currency broker OANDA said in a note. "With the Relative Strength Index (RSI) still at neutral levels, the technical picture suggests there is still potential topside in this rally." Elsewhere net gold imports to major consumer China via main conduit Hong Kong fell 23.6 percent in November from the previous month, data showed on Thursday.
Among other precious metals, silver was 0.6 percent
higher at $16.78 an ounce after earlier hitting its highest
since late November at $16.82. Platinum was up 0.4
percent at $920.50.
Palladium was down 0.1 percent at $1,059 an ounce,
having touched its highest since February 2001 at $1,069.50 an ounce in the previous session.
(Additional reporting by Apeksha Nair and Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Adrian Croft)