* Focus also on U.S. jobless claims data at 1230 GMT
* ECB policy decision due at 1145 GMT (Updates prices)
Sept 9 (Reuters) - Gold prices rose on Thursday after three straight sessions of losses as the dollar rally paused and investors’ focus turned to a European Central Bank (ECB) meeting expected to signal a tapering of its emergency economic support.
Spot gold rose 0.6% to $1,799.36 an ounce by 1130 GMT, bouncing off a two-week low touched on Wednesday.
U.S. gold futures were up 0.3% at $1,799.30.
Gold received a slight fillip as the dollar index edged down while the euro eked out gains amid expectations that the ECB could reduce the pace of bond buying.
“At the moment, gold is being driven by the dollar ... but what (ECB President) Christine Lagarde announces could have a bigger influence on gold prices than the dollar today,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.
Gold prices tend to gain when interest rates are low, while some investors also view bullion as a hedge against higher inflation that could follow stimulus measures. It also competes with the dollar as a safe store of value in times of uncertainty.
But bullion has been losing its shine as a safe haven, with risk aversion favouring the U.S. dollar of late, said Han Tan, chief market analyst at Exinity Group, adding that gold was still being driven largely by the greenback’s reaction to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s tapering outlook.
The Fed reported on Wednesday that the U.S. economy “downshifted slightly” in August in the face of a renewed COVID-19 surge.
Potentially offsetting any inflows into gold, several policymakers signalled that the Fed remains on track to trim asset purchases this year.
Focus was also on weekly U.S. initial jobless claim data at 1230 GMT, given the Fed’s recent emphasis on the labour market being an important determinant to tapering strategy.
In other precious metals, silver rose 0.9% to $24.18 an ounce, platinum gained 0.4% to $983.50 and palladium was steady at $2,250.69. (Reporting by Arundhati Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and David Goodman )
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