PRECIOUS-Gold ekes out gains on dollar retreat, rising virus cases

(New throughout, adds analyst comments, updates prices)

* holds above more than two-month high

* Dollar eases off over four-month peak

* Gold trapped in range bound trade – analyst

By Brijesh Patel

March 26 (Reuters) – Gold edged higher on Friday as concerns over surging coronavirus cases in Europe and a pullback in the dollar offset pressure from rising U.S. Treasury yields, although bullion was still on track for its first weekly decline in three.

Spot gold was up 0.1% at $1,728.08 per ounce by 1018 GMT. Bullion is down nearly 1% so far this week. U.S. GCv1 were up 0.2% at $1,727.90 per ounce.

“The dollar is slightly weaker today but gold has been very resilient recently despite strength in the dollar and rising Treasury yields,” said Xiao Fu, head of commodities markets strategy at Bank of China International.

“On the other hand, we have rising geopolitical risks and a third wave of the pandemic supporting gold prices as well,” she added.

The eased from a more than four month peak hit in the previous session. Recent better-than-expected economic readings out of the United States lifted prospects of a strong U.S. economic recovery and strengthened the U.S. currency. USD/ in wider financial markets, for most part of the week, remained subdued as worries about new lockdowns and a slow pace of vaccination in the euro zone weighed on risk appetite among investors. MKTS/GLOB benchmark U.S. Treasury yields edged towards a more than one-year high hit last week, increasing the opportunity cost of holding non-interest bearing gold. US/

“A stronger dollar and higher yields continue to spur further liquidation primarily from the ETF (exchange-traded fund) community,” said Joseph Stefans, Head of Trading at MKS. think gold is trapped in a bit of a range here and I can see it trading sideways over the next week or so.”

Elsewhere, silver rose 0.5% to $25.14, holding above an over two-month low of $24.39 per ounce hit on Thursday.

Palladium gained 0.8% to $2,630.31 and platinum rose 0.6% to $1,153.87.

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