Gold dips on dollar bounce; Omicron fears cap losses

  • Palladium hits more than one-month high
  • Gold faces resistance just above $1,815 -analyst

Dec 27 (Reuters) - Gold prices slipped in thin trade on Monday as the U.S. dollar rebounded, though bullion was still hovering close to a one-week high as concerns over the Omicron coronavirus variant increased safe-haven demand.

Spot gold was down 0.2% at $1,804.49 an ounce by 1326 GMT but remained above the $1,800 reached last week. U.S. gold futures slipped 0.3% to $1,806.50.

"While there is a firmer U.S. dollar, there isn't a lot of movement in gold today," said Quantitative Commodity Research analyst Peter Fertig, adding that one of the main reasons for the lack of liquidity is closed markets over Christmas.

Slightly higher yields increase the opportunity cost for holding gold, which is weighing a little on gold prices, Fertig added.

Global equities steadied and oil prices eased on concerns that the Omicron variant could slow the economy in the new year. GLOB/MKTS

"Gold faces resistance just above $1,815 ... it will continue to struggle to hold on to gains at these levels unless the U.S. dollar moves sharply lower this week," said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at OANDA.

The dollar index rose from its weakest level in nearly a week, making greenback-priced gold less attractive for holders of non-U.S. currencies.

Although quiet overall this week, "the low liquidity makes headline sensitivity more pronounced, as the thin markets are likely to make for more jittery price action if something were to happen", said DailyFX currency strategist Ilya Spivak.

Silver retreated by 1.3% to $22.65 an ounce while platinum dropped 2.1% to $953.94.

Palladium eased by 0.4% to $1,941.40 an ounce after touching its highest since Nov. 23 at $1,962.50.

Reporting by Bharat Govind Gautam and Seher Dareen in Bengaluru Additional reporting by Kavya Guduru Editing by David Goodman

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Seher oversees and writes market reports with the commodities and energy team in Bangalore round-the-clock and monitors newsworthy events in the resources space.