July 10, 2017 / 6:55 PM / a year ago

PRECIOUS-Gold rises from March lows as traders await rate hike signals

    * Gold at four-month lows
    * U.S. bond yields at two-month highs
    * German and U.S. economic data bolsters risk appetite
    * Net long at its lowest since January
    * Silver at 15-month lows

 (Updates throughout with market comment, latest market moves;
adds byline, NEW YORK dateline)
    By Chris Prentice and Peter Hobson
    NEW YORK/LONDON, July 10 (Reuters) - Gold prices edged up on
Monday from their lowest since mid-March in choppy trade, after
nearing technical support and as traders awaited signals from
central banks on interest rate hikes.
    Bullion is highly sensitive to rising rates because they
push up bond yields, increasing the opportunity cost of holding
non-yielding gold. They also tend to boost the dollar, in which
gold is priced.
    Traders were looking ahead to Wednesday and Thursday, when
U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will address Congress.
    "We're stalling right after the selling got a little
exhausted on Friday," said Phillip Streible, senior commodities
broker for RJO Futures in Chicago. "A lot of people are
forward-looking, waiting for Janet Yellen's testimony later on
this week."
    Spot gold       , which dropped 2.3 percent last week, was
up 0.07 percent at $1,213.61 per ounce by 2:32 p.m. EDT (1832
GMT), turning up after hitting $1,204.45, the lowest since March
    U.S. gold         futures for August delivery settled up
$3.50, or 0.29 percent, at $1,213.20 per ounce. 
    Traders expected monetary tightening from many central
banks. That rationale was bolstered by better than expected U.S.
jobs data and strong German export figures.             
    These also fuelled optimism about the global growth outlook,
encouraging investors to ditch gold for riskier assets.
    U.S. 10-year bond yields have risen sharply since late June,
while gold is down nearly 7 percent from a high of $1,295.97 a
month ago.                 
    Investors have sharply scaled back bets, reducing their net
long positions in COMEX gold in the week to July 3 by more than
half to the smallest bullish stance since January.             
    Gold holdings at the world's largest bullion-backed
exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, fell 2 percent in the
week to Friday.      
    Standard Chartered analysts said that investors should buy
at about $1,200 because Indian demand, which was dented by a new
sales tax, is likely to recover and U.S. interest rates are
expected to rise slowly over the next few years. 
    Technical support for gold was at $1,200 and $1,195, the
March low, ScotiaMocatta analysts said in a note. 
    Spot silver        edged up 0.45 percent to $15.65 per
ounce, after earlier falling to $15.16. Prices are near their
lowest since April last year and investors' bullish stance in
the week to July 3 fell to its lowest since December 2015.
    Platinum        was down 0.47 percent at $899.25 per ounce
and palladium        was up 0.27 percent at $840.78 per ounce.

 (Additional reporting by Nithin Prasad and Arpan Varghese in
Bengaluru; Editing by David Evans and Lisa Shumaker)
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