(Updates prices) * Platinum looks set to post third weekly gain * U.S. dollar eyes second straight weekly loss By K. Sathya Narayanan and Shreyansi Singh Feb 19 (Reuters) - Gold prices edged higher on Friday, recovering from a more than seven-month low hit earlier as the U.S. dollar eased, but rising Treasury yields kept bullion on course for its biggest weekly drop since early January. Spot gold was up 0.3% at $1,780.86 per ounce by 02:17 p.m. EST (1917 GMT), after falling to its lowest since July 2 at $1,759.29 earlier. The safe-haven metal was down about 2.4% so far this week, its biggest weekly drop since the week of Jan. 8. U.S. gold futures settled up 0.1% at $1,777.40. "The drop in the U.S. dollar has likely driven gold higher," said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategies at TD Securities, adding the move could also be technical in nature. The dollar was down 0.3% against key rivals and looked set to post its second straight weekly loss. "(However), the problem (for gold) continues to be the yields, and we continue to see rates across the curve move higher," Melek added. Benchmark U.S. Treasury yields rose to a near one-year high earlier. While gold is seen as an inflation hedge, higher inflation expectations have pushed yields up, increasing the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion. Gold should still benefit from continued loose monetary policy and low real interest rates this year, analysts said. Commerzbank analysts said in a note that gold's behaviour resembled that of a tsunami, with prices receding in the first phase before coming back all the more violently. Autocatalyst metal platinum edged 0.2% higher to $1,277.18 an ounce and was set to post its third straight weekly gain, having risen to a more than six-year peak earlier in the week. Palladium rose 1.1% to $2,376.58 an ounce. Silver rose 0.8% to $27.25, but was set to register a weekly loss. (Reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan, Nakul Iyer and Shreyansi Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Jan Harvey, Nick Macfie and Jane Merriman)
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