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PRECIOUS-Gold rebounds as dollar, U.S. yields pull back

* Gold’s ‘short term bounce’ not reversal of bigger trend- analyst

* Platinum rises as much as 3.5%

* SPDR Gold holdings hit lowest since April 2020 (Adds comments, updates prices)

March 9 (Reuters) - Gold rose nearly 2% on Tuesday, as it gained respite from a retreat in U.S. Treasury yields and the dollar following a slide to a nine-month low in the last session.

Spot gold rose 1.5% to $1,706.01 per ounce by 1308 GMT, having earlier risen as much as 1.8% to $1,711.16.

U.S. gold futures climbed 1.4% to $1,701.80.

“Given the metal’s zero-yielding nature, falling yields may provide a tailwind for bulls to elevate prices higher,” said Lukman Otunuga, senior research analyst at FXTM.

But while gold may extend gains near term, “fundamentally, the pendulum swings in favour of bears especially when factoring in how global sentiment is improving on vaccine rollouts and COVID-19 cases are falling globally.”

U.S. 10-year Treasury yields eased, and the dollar slipped against rival currencies.

Gold is also being propped up by some bargain hunting, said StoneX analyst Rhona O’Connell.

But there’s a split, as “some people think the bond market has got a long way further to go downwards, (while) other people are saying that because of the distribution of positioning, some managers may be starting to look at rebalancing.”

Higher bond yields have challenged bullion’s status as an inflation hedge this year, pushing gold prices to their lowest since June 5 at $1,676.10 on Monday.

Gold’s current move “is a short-term bounce and not a reversal of the bigger trend,” said analyst Xiao Fu at Bank of China International.

The exchange-traded fund outflows are indicating diminishing investor interest, she added.

Holdings of the world’s largest gold-backed ETF, SPDR Gold Trust, fell to their lowest since April 2020 on Monday.

Meanwhile, European Central Bank policymakers were divided on the merits of intervening by increasing bond purchases, ahead of their meeting on Thursday.

Silver rose 2.8% to $25.78 an ounce. Palladium fell 0.7% to $2,300.23. Platinum gained 2.9% to $1,168.46, having risen as much as 3.5% earlier. (Reporting by Shreyansi Singh in Bengaluru; editing by John Stonestreet and Louise Heavens)

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