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Gold bounces from seven-month low as dollar softens

NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) - Gold prices recovered from a near seven-month low and platinum bounced from close to a 10-year low on Tuesday as the dollar eased.

Spot gold gained 0.9 percent to $1,252.96 an ounce at 1:42 p.m. EDT (1742 GMT). Earlier, bullion prices dropped to $1,237.32, their lowest since Dec. 12, 2017.

U.S. gold futures for August delivery settled up $11.80, or 1 percent, at $1,253.50 per ounce.

“First the dollar flipped, and it looks like interest rates dropped for the 10-year (Treasuries),” said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategy at TD Securities. “The (yield) curve is flattening, suggesting that you might not get as much tightening as thought before.”

Investors awaited minutes, due on Thursday, of the June U.S. Federal Reserve meeting and U.S. non-farm payrolls data on Friday for clues on the direction of U.S. monetary policy decisions, which affect non-interest yielding gold.

The dollar index declined against a basket of currencies, decreasing the cost of dollar-denominated bullion for investors using other currencies.

The United States plans to place tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods as of July 6, but world stocks were supported by broad gains in Europe and rising oil prices.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce denounced U.S. President Donald Trump’s handling of global trade disputes, issuing a report that argued those tariffs and retaliation by U.S. partners would boomerang badly on the economy.

Gold prices can increase in times of uncertainty as it is seen as a safe place to park assets, but bullion has failed to benefit from recent trade disputes.

Analysts warned that gold’s rise on Tuesday did not mark the end of its recent downward trend.

“It appears quite clear that the trend is still bearish for gold and that a first positive impulse could only arrive if prices soar to $1,255,” ActivTrades analyst Carlo Alberto De Casa said.

Silver climbed 1.1 percent to $16.01 an ounce.

Platinum gained 2.6 percent at $837.10 an ounce. Earlier, it fell to the lowest since December 2008 at $793. Palladium dropped 0.7 percent at $938.20 per ounce.

Autocatalyst metal platinum tumbled as an intensifying U.S.-European Union trade spat pressured precious metals, and political risk in Germany weighed.

“Supply and demand fundamentals do not look particularly attractive for platinum – we expect surpluses to persist throughout our forecast period,” UBS said in a note, downgrading its platinum outlook for the year.

Palladium traded lower than other precious metals, likely following light U.S. vehicle sales by major automakers, said Alex Turro, market strategist at RJO Futures.

Reporting by Karen Rodrigues and Apeksha Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by David Evans and Richard Chang