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NEW YORK: Gold prices reversed course to approach a one-week peak on Monday, as renewed risks to global economic growth from rising cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant overshadowed pressure from a firmer US dollar.

Spot gold was up 0.1% at $1,809.67 an ounce by 12:34 EDT (1734 GMT), maintaining above the key $1,800 level reached last week. US gold futures gained 0.1% to $1,810.60 per ounce.

The outlook for gold in the first quarter of 2022 is upbeat, with the main driver being inflation, which is keeping a floor under prices, said Jim Wyckoff, a senior analyst at Kitco Metals.

“The underlying support comes from inflation concerns,” Wyckoff said, adding “the leanings of the Fed for a little bit tighter monetary policy seems to have assuaged the gold traders a little bit”.

Non-yielding bullion is often considered a hedge against higher inflation.

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

“While there is a firmer US 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.

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 rose 0.1% to $22.97 per ounce, while platinum fell 0.2% to $972.50.

Palladium rose 0.4% to $1,955.34 per ounce, it hit its highest since Nov. 22 earlier in the day.

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