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NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) - Gold rose to a two-week high on Wednesday as political turmoil in the United States reduced expectations of aggressive interest rate rises this year, pushed down U.S. bond yields and drove the dollar to its lowest in six months.
Lower yields reduce the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding gold, while a weaker dollar makes bullion cheaper for non-U.S. investors. Higher interest rates would push yields up and likely boost the dollar.
Spot gold XAU= rose for a fifth day and was up 1.8 percent at $1,258.28 an ounce by 2:40 p.m. EDT (1840 GMT), after hitting $1.260.20, the highest since May 1. It was on track for its biggest one-day gain since June 2016.
U.S. gold futures GCcv1 settled up 1.8 percent at $1,258.70.
"Downward movement in yields and the dollar have given support to gold," ABN AMRO analyst Georgette Boele said. "And on top of this you get political uncertainty which is denting the dollar."
U.S. President Donald Trump is under pressure to explain whether he tried to interfere with a federal investigation after reports that he asked then-FBI Director James Comey to end a probe into Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
"Investors' worry is that the president may have obstructed justice, which is a potentially impeachable offence," said Fawad Razaqzada, technical analyst for Forex.com.
That follows a turbulent week after Trump fired Comey and discussed sensitive national security information with Russia's foreign minister, causing investors to question whether Trump can push through tax cuts and deregulation. [MKTS/GLOB] [FRX/]
"This has driven monies into safe-haven buying which is supporting gold," said Miguel Perez-Santalla, vice president of Heraeus Metal Management in New York.
The dollar fell to its lowest since Trump was elected in November and is likely to drop further, Boele said. Stocks fell and 10-year U.S. Treasury yields were at the lowest since April 21. .DXY .N US10YT=RR
An unexpected drop in U.S. homebuilding activity, reported on Tuesday, meanwhile raised new doubts about how many times the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this year.
Futures traders are pricing in a 66 percent chance of a June rate rise, down from around 90 percent earlier this month, according to CME's FedWatch Tool. FEDWATCH
Technically, gold breached resistance at its 200-day moving average and Fibonacci retracement, both around $1,245, triggering technical buying.
Silver XAG= was up 0.6 percent at $16.92 an ounce and platinum XPT= was 0.7 percent higher at $944 an ounce. Palladium XPD= was down 2.2 percent at $776.22.
Additional reporting by Vijaykumar Vedala and Swati Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by Susan Thomas and Steve Orlofsky