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LONDON, May 30 (Reuters) - Gold rose more than 1 percent on Friday after hitting a two-week low, as a weaker dollar and sharp declines in bullion prices in past sessions attracted investors and bargain hunters.
Spot gold XAU= rose as high as $889.60 an ounce and was quoted at $886.40/887.50 by 1611 GMT, against $877.85/879.25 late in New York on Thursday. It fell about 6 percent this week to a low of $870 on Friday, its lowest point since May 15.
“We saw a good amount of support at these levels about a week-and-a-half ago and there was a bounce off of that,” said Merrill Lynch metals strategist Daniel Hynes, referring to a price level of around $885.
“This has set the floor for this stage and it will be what gold will rally from, until the momentum is strong enough to keep it going.”
The dollar fell to session lows versus the euro as investors took profits ahead of the weekend after recent strong gains in the U.S. currency.
A weaker dollar makes gold cheaper for holders of other currencies and often lifts bullion demand. The metal is also generally seen as a hedge against oil-led inflation.
Oil climbed back above $127 a barrel on Friday, recovering from earlier losses triggered by a U.S. regulatory probe.
Physical demand for gold has slowed near the high prices struck last week and demand may not improve significantly unless buyers are convinced that prices are poised to climb again, analysts said.
The third quarter is normally a slow demand period for gold.
“Physical demand has almost dried up in key markets like India, due to lack of any major festivals in the near term,” analysts with Vision Commodities Services said in a note.
“High inflation, high energy prices and a general propensity to purchase household goods in the summer months have turned out to be additional culprits that force to defer any scheduled gold buying.”
Platinum rose after touching a low of $1,946 an ounce, the lowest level since May 8. It had fallen more than 10 percent from last week’s 2-1/2-month high above $2,200 an ounce despite a continuing power crisis in top producer South Africa.
The head of state-owned electricity utility Eskom, which produces about 95 percent of South Africa’s electricity, warned on Thursday that a power shortage that has slowed growth would go on for years. [ID:nL29153529]
“Platinum is undervalued at these levels as it’s been dragged down by the sell-off across the metals complex as a whole. It will remain the one to rally quickly once this wave of selling eases off,” said Hynes of Merrill Lynch.
Spot platinum rose to $2,003/2,023 an ounce from $1,990.50/2,010.50 in late trade on Thursday. But silver XAG= was down at $16.79/16.84 an ounce, versus $16.86/16.92. Palladium was up $1 at $428.50/436.50 an ounce. (Reporting by Karl Plume; editing by Peter Blackburn)
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