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NEW YORK: Gold prices marked their biggest yearly decline since 2015, hemmed in by a resurgent dollar as investors prepared to usher in a new year in which the money supply could be tightened even as the threat of the Omicron coronavirus variant lingers.

Spot gold was last up 0.4% at $1,822.11 per ounce by 11:13 a.m. EDT (1613 GMT), after hitting a peak since Nov. 22 at $1,827.26 on Friday, helped by a retreat in the dollar and global equities.

US gold futures also firmed 0.5% to $1,823.00.

Gold has eased about 4% in 2021 as a recovering global economy pushed more investors toward riskier assets and curbed interest for safe-haven assets such as bullion.

Adding to this mix were indications that central banks would speed up reining in their massive pandemic-led money printing to jump-start the economy. Although bullion is considered a hedge against the inflation that usually results from the widespread stimulus, interest rate hikes would translate into higher opportunity cost of holding gold, which bears no interest, and lift US Treasuries and the dollar.

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