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Gold rises as dollar dips, stocks jump

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Gold prices rose on Tuesday as the US dollar fell to fresh three-year lows, but an end to uncertainty created by a three-day US government shutdown capped gains.

[NEW YORK] Gold prices rose on Tuesday as the US dollar fell to fresh three-year lows, but an end to uncertainty created by a three-day US government shutdown capped gains.

Spot gold was up 0.3 per cent at US$1,337.36 an ounce at 1.38pm EST (1838 GMT) after touching a one-week high of US$1,339.09, while US gold futures for February delivery settled up US$4.80, or 0.4 per cent, at US$1,336.70 per ounce.

"The continuation of weakness in the dollar is prompting support in commodities across the board," said David Meger, director of metals trading at High Ridge Futures in Chicago.

The dollar index fell to a fresh three-year low against a basket of six currencies, after data showed euro zone consumer confidence jumped much more than expected in January, underlining the strong momentum in its economy.

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A weaker greenback makes dollar-denominated assets such as gold cheaper for holders of other currencies.

Gold was virtually unaffected by the shutdown in the previous session. Bullion traded in a tight range after the US Senate voted to pass a temporary spending plan through Feb 8 to end the government shutdown.

Equity markets have since gained, however some market participants are pacing for a correction, said Josh Graves, senior commodities strategist at RJO Futures in Chicago.

"Equities are getting overdone, so you're seeing more guys positioning for at least a short-term correction," he said.

Markets are also anticipating an expected US interest rate increase in March, which could affect gold.

"The anticipation of a March hike could act as additional weight for gold, although given this is now largely anticipated, the downside risks should be limited and gold's reaction function is likely to be asymmetric," UBS said in a note.

US benchmark 10-year Treasury note yields fell to a five-day low, while 30-year bond yields sank to a one-week low. Declining yields typically make gold more attractive to non-US investors.

The US economy is likely to grow in 2018 at its fastest pace in three years, fueled by the biggest tax overhaul since the 1980s, according to a Reuters poll of more than 100 economists.

Faster economic growth in the world's largest economy would increase the likelihood of interest rate rises and dent the appeal of non-interest yielding bullion.

Among other precious metals, platinum was 0.8 per cent lower at US$1,002.80 an ounce, down from a more than four-month high touched in the previous session.

Silver was down 0.5 per cent at US$16.92 an ounce after touching a US$3-1/2-week low of US$16.73.

Palladium was 0.9 per cent lower at US$1,087.97 an ounce.

REUTERS

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