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PRECIOUS-Gold bounces as dollar weakens, investors watch Ukraine-Russia talks

 (Adds comments, updates prices)
    * SPDR gold holdings highest since March 2021
    * Gold up for second straight session
    * Fed may raise rates six more times this year
    * U.S. dollar weakens

    By Seher Dareen
    March 17 (Reuters) - Gold rose 1% on Thursday, supported by
a retreat in the U.S. dollar and Treasury yields, with investors
cautiously watching developments in peace talks between Russia
and Ukraine. 
    Spot gold        was up 0.8% to $1,943.30 per ounce by 1:41
p.m. EDT (1741 GMT). 
    U.S. gold futures        settled up 1.8% to $1,943.20 per
ounce.
    With a weaker dollar and the Ukraine situation still in the
background, people have started piling into gold, said Miguel
Perez-Santalla, head of trading sales and marketing at Heraeus
Metals Management in New York.
    Signs of progress in talks to end the war in Ukraine, which
Russia calls "a special military operation," had helped global
stocks surge this week, but the Kremlin said there was no deal
yet.             
    The dollar and Treasury yields eased a day after the Federal
Reserve raised its benchmark overnight interest rate by a
quarter of a percentage point, with some investors having priced
in an even stronger rate hike.                     
    While rising U.S. interest rates normally tend to pressure
gold since they increase the opportunity cost of holding the
non-yielding asset, bullion investors seemed to take the Fed
rate hike in stride, given that it was mostly aimed at tackling
soaring inflation. 
    "If you had to look at one single thing to encourage you
that this bull run has got legs, you'd be looking at ETF
(exchange-traded fund) flows, and that's really positive,"
independent analyst Ross Norman said.   
    Holdings of the world's largest gold-backed ETF, SPDR Gold
Trust, have risen to the highest level since March 2021 at
1,070.53 tonnes.          
    Palladium        rose 4.1% to $2,507.42 per ounce, though it
is down almost $1,000 from its March highs.
    With producers not having any issues moving the metal, there
doesn't seem to be much of a supply shortage like previously
feared, said Edward Meir, analyst with ED&F Man Capital Markets.
                        
    Spot silver        rose 1% to $25.31 per ounce, while
platinum        was up 0.4% to $1,021.95.

 (Reporting by Seher Dareen and Bharat Govind Gautam in
Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel and Paul Simao)
  
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