PRECIOUS-Gold dips from near 7-mth high; stimulus support stays
* Gold falls more than 1 pct, platinum down as much as 2 pct * SPDR Gold Trust holdings hit highest in more than 2 years * Coming up: Germany IFO business climate index; 0800 GMT (Adds details; updates prices) By Rujun Shen SINGAPORE, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Gold pulled back from a near seven-month high on Monday, but a recent spate of stimulus measures from central banks that has buoyed bullion is expected to continue supporting prices. Gold has gained more than 10 percent over the last five weeks, its biggest such gain since September 2011, after the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank each announced fresh monetary easing measures to support their economies. Easy monetary policies drive investors to seek a hedge against higher inflation risk caused by rampant cash printing by central banks. A low interest rate environment also helps non-yielding gold attract investors. "I'm not worried at all about gold," said Dominic Schnider, an analyst at UBS Wealth Management in Singapore. "Despite the short-term retracement, gold is still a buy, and is still attractive. The $1,950 level is still a guidance." Spot gold fell as much as 0.9 percent to $1,757.14 an ounce, after hitting $1,787.20 hit in the previous session, its highest since Feb. 29. Gold rose 0.6 percent last week, its fifth straight week of gains. It stood at $1,759.59 by 0651 GMT. U.S. gold lost 0.9 percent to $1,762.40. A stronger dollar also weighed on commodities priced in the greenback, making them less attractive to buyers holding other currencies. "I wouldn't be surprised to see gold pull back to the $1,750 area but dips will continue to be bought," a Singapore-based trader said. Spot platinum dropped as much as 2 percent to $1,603.5 an ounce and spot silver fell 1.9 percent to an intra-day low of $33.78. Equities and other commodities also weakened, as investors returned to worrying about the global economic prospects with a string of data due this week. SPDR GOLD TRUST HOLDINGS HIT 2-YEAR HIGH Investors piled into gold after the U.S. Federal Reserve announced a fresh round of quantitative easing earlier this month. Holdings in the SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, had climbed to 1,317.762 tonnes by Sept. 21, its highest level since July 2010. In the U.S. gold futures and options market, speculators raised their net long positions to 178,426 contracts in the week ended Sept. 18, the highest level in nearly seven months. Net length in platinum jumped to a historical high of 27,643 lots. Among other news, in top platinum supplier South Africa, authorities have issued an arrest warrant for ANC renegade Julius Malema, a key backer of wildcat strikes that have spread from platinum to gold producers in recent weeks. Precious metals prices 0651 GMT Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Volume Spot Gold 1759.59 -12.85 -0.72 12.52 Spot Silver 33.94 -0.48 -1.39 22.57 Spot Platinum 1610.00 -27.50 -1.68 15.58 Spot Palladium 656.97 -11.63 -1.74 0.69 COMEX GOLD DEC2 1762.40 -15.60 -0.88 12.48 33247 COMEX SILVER DEC2 34.00 -0.64 -1.86 21.78 10529 Euro/Dollar 1.2937 Dollar/Yen 78.06 COMEX gold and silver contracts show the most active months (Editing by Miral Fahmy)
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