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PRECIOUS-Spot gold hits 4-week low on dollar, U.S. rate hike comments

* Gold's safe haven bids following Brussels attacks fade
    * Platinum falls 3 pct to one-week low

 (Updates prices, adds comment)
    By Clara Denina 
    LONDON, March 23 (Reuters) - Spot gold fell more than two
percent to its lowest in four  weeks on Wednesday as the dollar
strengthened following hawkish comments by Federal Reserve
officials on the path of U.S. interest rates.
    Gold had risen 1.2 percent in the previous session, when
investors sought "safe haven" assets after deadly bomb attacks
on Brussels, before giving up its gains.
    Spot gold slipped 2.6 percent to its lowest since
Feb. 29 at $1,215.10 an ounce in earlier trade and was down 2.4
percent at $1,217.96 by 1520 GMT. Prices fell as investors
booked profits ahead of the Easter break, which starts on
Friday.
    "After the news of Brussels, markets had a strong rally, but
with the long weekend approaching there is some liquidation,
likely to continue for the next few hours," MKS SA head of
trading Afshin Nabavi said.
    U.S. gold futures also fell 2.4 percent to $1,218.30
an ounce.
    Comments from several U.S. Federal Reserve officials
underpinned the dollar, which was up 0.5 percent against a
basket of currencies.
    Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker said the central
bank should consider another hike as early as next month if the
U.S. economy continues to improve, while Chicago Fed President
Charles Evans also said he expects two more rate increases this
year.  
    "The Fed (officials) comments put a bit of pressure on the
gold price but are unlikely to derail a more positive long-term
sentiment towards the metal," ABN Amro Georgette Boele said.
    "If there was a massive rate hike and a jump in the dollar,
it would be very difficult for gold to move higher, but any rate
increase will be gradual."
    Higher interest rates increase holding costs of gold, which
is a non-interest bearing asset.
    Bullion has rallied 16 percent this year, regaining its role
as a shelter for risk-averse investors, in the face of tumbling
equities and fears of a global economic slowdown.
    Venezuela exported about 443 million Swiss francs ($456
million) worth of gold to Switzerland in February, data showed
on Tuesday, as the South American country's central bank carried
out swaps to receive cash due to a biting economic crisis.
    Switzerland became a net importer of platinum once again in
February, data from the Swiss customs bureau showed on Tuesday,
as shipments from major producer South Africa ticked up.
    Silver fell 3.7 percent to $15.26 an ounce, platinum
 dropped 3 percent to a one-week low of $954.75 an ounce
and palladium dipped 3.6 percent to $581.10 an ounce.

 (Additional reporting by Melanie Burton in Melbourne; Editing
by Alexander Smith and David Evans)
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