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Gold was on course to record its worst performance in six years, as prices hovered around a key support level in thin trade on Thursday, pressured by firm Treasury yields.

Spot gold was down 0.3% at $1,798.33 per ounce by 0539 GMT, dipping below $1,800, a level it has closed above consistently for a week. US gold futures fell 0.3% to $1,799.50.

"The kind of back and forth seen over the last 48 hours is less indicative of any particular fundamental catalyst and much more of the market being very thin and volatility being amplified by that absence of liquidity," DailyFX currency strategist Ilya Spivak said.

Gold prices hit a one-month high on Tuesday, but slipped to a one-week low the very next session before closing unchanged, and were on track for their biggest annual percentage decline since 2015.

The first week of January will provide directional clues because gold is seen caught between how fast and in what direction inflation is going and what, and how much, the US Federal Reserve is doing to contain it, Spivak said.

Benchmark 10-year US Treasury yields steadied near a one-month peak, raising the opportunity cost of holding non-interest paying gold.

Gold hits more than 1-month peak

The dollar index edged up from near a one-month low, weighing on gold demand by making it less appealing for non-US currency holders.

Asian shares flatlined on a slow Thursday as the spread of Omicron clouded what is the last trading day of the year for many exchanges.

US weekly initial jobless claims data, a key metric of the country's economic health, is due at 1330 GMT later in the day.

Spot silver dipped 0.7% to $22.65 an ounce, platinum eased 0.6% to $962.03, and palladium fell 0.5% to $1,972.47, all set for their worst showing in several years.

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