* U.S. weekly jobless claims unexpectedly rise * Silver hits highest since March 23 at $25.60/oz * Dollar hits two-week trough (Updates prices) By Sumita Layek April 8 (Reuters) - Gold prices climbed to their highest level in more than a month on Thursday as the dollar and U.S. yields dropped and the Federal Reserve's reiteration of its dovish policy stance also lifted bullion's appeal. Spot gold rose 1.11% to $1,756.56 per ounce by 1:43 p.m. EDT (1743 GMT), having earlier hit its highest since March 1 at $1,758.45. U.S. gold futures settled up about 1% at $1,758.2. "The dollar and U.S. yields are coming off and that's the key catalyst right now... a pretty unimpressive jobs number is also helping push gold higher," said Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist, RJO Futures. "And the fact that we're above $1,750, which is a key technical level, shows that gold has some legs to continue higher." The dollar slipped to a more than two-week low, while benchmark Treasury yields eased, making gold more appealing compared to alternative investments like bonds. New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week, data showed. This further highlighted the Fed's commitment of supporting the economy until its recovery is more secure, minutes of the central bank's latest policy meeting showed on Wednesday. "Gold has been somewhat weak because people have been very optimistic about the economic recovery and the vaccinations resolving the pandemic and the Fed sort of reinforced the view that the pandemic is not over," said Jeffrey Christian, managing partner of CPM Group. "There is a real race between the variants and the vaccinations, and right now the variants seem to have the upper hand on a global basis." Market participants now await Fed Chair Jerome Powell's speech at a virtual International Monetary Fund conference later on Thursday. Silver gained 1.4% to $25.47 per ounce, having hit a more than two-week peak of $25.60. Palladium added 0.3% to $2,630.19 per ounce, while platinum rose 0.4% to $1,229.99. (Reporting by Sumita Layek and Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Susan Fenton, Kirsten Donovan)
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