December 23, 2016 / 1:15 AM / 8 months ago

Gold prices edge higher as U.S. dollar eases

Gold bars are seen at the Austrian Gold and Silver Separating Plant 'Oegussa' in Vienna, Austria, March 18, 2016.Leonhard Foeger/File Photo

NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) - Gold edged higher on Friday as the dollar retreated from this week's 14-year high and some buyers were tempted to take advantage of prices near a 10-month low after six weeks of decline.

Volumes were thin as traders prepared for a long weekend. All floor trading for precious and base metals options will be shut on Monday, Dec. 26 for the Christmas holiday.

Bullion has fallen more than $200 an ounce from the peak it hit after Donald Trump's U.S. presidential election victory on Nov. 8, reaching a low last week of $1,122.35, as his win sparked a dollar rally and drove U.S. Treasury yields higher.

It is down 14 percent this quarter, paring its gain for the year to 6.7 percent. Gold posted its biggest quarterly increase in 30 years between January and March.

Spot gold was up 0.32 pct at $1,132.24 per ounce by 1:50 p.m. EST (1850 GMT), but still set to finish the week lower for a sixth straight week.

The most-active U.S. gold GCcv1 futures for February delivery settled up $2.90, or 0.26 percent, at $1,133.60 per ounce.

"The market is trying to base right now," said Eli Tesfaye, senior market strategist for brokerage RJO Futures in Chicago. "Unless there are geopolitical concerns, the path of least resistance is to the downside."

The dollar eased against a basket of currencies, off highs hit after this month's Federal Reserve policy meeting. The bank surprised markets by indicating interest rates could rise more quickly than expected next year.

Rising interest rates increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion, while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced.

"There is a risk that the prices of gold and silver might fall further in the short term as the Fed hikes rates more aggressively in response to some of Trump's more inflationary policies," Capital Economics said in a weekly note.

Buying in India remained subdued this week despite a sharp fall in prices as a severe cash crunch and holidays kept purchasers away from the market, while premiums in China fell from near three-year highs touched in the prior week.

Investors also showed little appetite for gold. Holdings of the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund have fallen more than 12 percent since November.

Silver XAG= was down 0.37 pct at $15.721 per ounce, while platinum XPT= was down 1.27 pct at $890.49 and palladium was up 0.35 pct at $657.22.

Additional reporting By Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by David Evans and Phil Berlowitz

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