PRECIOUS-Gold jumps to 1-month top, palladium falls from 4-week high

* Dollar edges further below a 14-year peak
    * Platinum hits near 8-week high
    * Palladium on track for biggest weekly rise since July

 (Recasts, updates prices, adds comment, second byline, NEW YORK
    By Marcy Nicholson and Clara Denina 
    NEW YORK/LONDON, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Gold rose to its highest
price in one month on Thursday as the dollar slipped further
below a 14-year peak hit earlier this week, while palladium
turned lower after extending this week's steep gains to a
four-week high.
    Spot gold rose as much as 1.85 percent to its highest
since Dec. 5 at $1,184.90 an ounce and was up 1.5 percent at
$1,180.94 by 3:11 p.m. EST (2011 GMT). Spot prices were heading
for a 2.5 percent gain for the week, the strongest since June.
    "Although the wider picture hasn't changed and U.S. growth
is improving, there shouldn't be any further significant
appreciation in the dollar after the strong run of the past few
months and uncertainty about economic policy changes going
forward," Commerzbank analyst Daniel Briesemann said, adding
that this should be supportive for dollar-denominated gold. 
    U.S. gold futures settled up 1.5 percent at
$1,181.30 per ounce. 
    "Continuing jobless claims were higher than expected,
supporting gold and helping to weaken (the) U.S. dollar this
morning," said Miguel Perez-Santalla, vice president of Heraeus
Metal Management in New York.
    "There may be some retracement yet it looks like a bull
market is in the making."
    The dollar extended losses against a basket of six
major currencies after data showed U.S. private employers added
153,000 jobs in December, below economists' expectations. 
    Palladium is up around 8 percent so far this week, on
track for its biggest weekly gain since July, despite falling
from a four-week high of $747.80 an ounce on Thursday. It later
fell 0.4 percent to $732.50.
    The metal, mostly used to clean exhaust emissions from
gasoline-powered catalysts, has been bought in anticipation of
record vehicle sales in the United States and was also boosted
by a lower dollar, analysts said. 
    "We are seeing continued strong growth in car sales, which
is particularly good for palladium. And in general for the
industrial element, there is a very strong growth environment
that is taking shape, which is supportive," ETF Securities
analyst Martin Arnold said.
    Platinum was up 2.8 percent at $966.20, after
reaching its highest in nearly eight weeks at $975.80. It was
heading for a 7.9 percent weekly gain. 
    Buying from China, the biggest gold consumer, also supported
the gold rally, traders said. 
    "The Chinese New Year is around the corner. Gold kilobar
demand is picking up right now, with strong premiums on the
mainland," a Japan-based precious metals trader said.
    Spot silver was up 0.85 percent at $16.56.

 (Additional reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru;
Editing by Catherine Evans and Meredith Mazzilli)