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Gold holds steady as US data leaves dollar stable

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Gold held near an earlier two-week high on Thursday after US data on gross domestic product, jobless claims and regional business activity left traders' views on a stable economy unchanged and the dollar broadly steady.

[NEW YORK] Gold held near an earlier two-week high on Thursday after US data on gross domestic product, jobless claims and regional business activity left traders' views on a stable economy unchanged and the dollar broadly steady.

Spot gold was at up 0.06 per cent at US$1,266.35 an ounce by 2.32pm EST (1932 GMT), rising for the fifth straight session and hitting its highest since Dec 6 at US$1,268.26 in earlier trade. US gold futures settled up 0.08 per cent at US$1,270.60.

Spot palladium inched up and briefly touched the highest level since February 2001 at US$1,038.99 an ounce before paring gains to be up 1.1 per cent at US$1,036.15 an ounce. It was on track to finish the year up more than 50 per cent on expectations for a shift in demand from diesel to gasoline-fueled cars, which use the metal in their catalytic converters.

Italopreziosi's Filippo Finocchi, the leading forecaster from Reuters' January 2017 palladium price poll, told the Reuters Global Gold Forum that growing petrol and hybrid vehicle sales should boost prices again next year.

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Market voices on:

Leading global stock markets rose modestly in the wake of solid US economic growth data and as investors digested the recent passage of a US$1.5 trillion tax cut plan in Washington.

"Gold has failed to break out above US$1,270, suggesting market participants may be cautious about taking big positions as we approach the year-end," said Mitsubishi analyst Jonathan Butler.

US Treasury yields fell on Thursday, after the GDP and jobless data.

This followed their move on Wednesday to the highest in nine months on optimism the US tax overhaul would help boost growth and as economic data improves. Rising bond yields tend to lift the dollar and depress the appeal of non-yielding bullion.

The US House of Representatives took a step toward averting a partial government shutdown at the end of this week, approving rules to debate a bill that would fund federal agencies through Jan 19.

"This is a quiet market that's looking for a little more direction and ... I think that maybe they're worried about the budget," said Rob Haworth, senior investment strategist at US Bank Wealth Management, adding this has provided some support for gold.

Among other precious metals, silver was down 0.5 per cent at $16.09 an ounce, having climbed to a two-week peak of US$16.26 in the previous session.

Platinum was 0.4 per cent lower at US$914.80 an ounce, after reaching its highest since Dec 5 in the previous session.

REUTERS