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Gold up, poised for more gains on soft U.S. rate outlook

A worker checks gold granulate at a plant of gold refiner and bar manufacturer Valcambi SA in the southern Swiss town of Balerna December 20, 2012. Picture taken December 20, 2012. REUTERS/Michael Buholzer/Files

By Eric Onstad

LONDON (Reuters) - Gold climbed on Monday and was likely to see further gains after the dollar slumped to multi-month lows on the back of data that pointed to weak U.S. inflation and dampened prospects for rate hikes.

"The dollar continues to be on the back foot and yields have dropped back somewhat from their relatively elevated positioning lately," said analyst Jonathan Butler at Mitsubishi in London.

Spot gold was up 0.6 percent at $1,235.57 per ounce at 1353 GMT, while U.S. gold futures for August delivery rose 0.6 percent to $1,234.70 per ounce.

"If gold remains at $1,230 or goes higher, there's an elevated risk that some of those short positions might start to be reversed and that would give some further upside to gold," Butler added.

Recent soft U.S. inflation and domestic demand figures undermined arguments for the U.S. Federal Reserve to raise interest rates, with traders cutting back their bets on the likelihood of an increase in December.

The dollar held at a 10-month low against a basket of currencies, while high-yielding currencies such as the Australian dollar rose to two-year peaks as investors piled into leveraged bets after data dampened expectations of a U.S. rate hike in coming months.

A weaker greenback supports gold since the dollar-priced commodity is less expensive for investors holding other currencies.

"Investor sentiment (for gold) has improved quite dramatically over the past week, especially with the weak data out of the United States last week," said ANZ analyst Daniel Hynes. "Gold is now primed for another rally."

On the technical front, gold is likely to significantly break above key resistance at the 200-day moving average near $1,230 per ounce and could even rise to the $1,250 level in the shorter term, Hynes said. "The technical bounce looks fairly solid," he said.

Among other precious metals, spot silver rose 1.4 percent to $16.17 per ounce after hitting $16.18, the highest in nearly two weeks.

Analysts polled by Reuters cut their average 2017 silver forecast to $17.32 an ounce from $17.98 in the previous poll three months ago after the metal slid 9 percent in the second quarter.

Platinum gained 1.6 percent to $929.74 per ounce after touching its highest in three weeks at $932.50.

Palladium added 0.6 percent to $862.80 per ounce.

"We saw a triple bottom form in platinum last week along with the lows of May and December. When that happens that tends to be a pretty solid support level," Butler said.

"So I wouldn't expect that we would get a major breach of that level in the near term."

(Additional reporting by Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar and Louise Heavens)