Gold prices rise after nearly dropping 2% overnight

London (Dec 23)   Gold rose on Tuesday, rebounding from a three-week low hit in the previous session as the dollar eased, but remained vulnerable to further losses as appetite for risk continued to lift equities.

Spot gold was up 0.4% to $1,179.70/oz by 10.55am GMT. It had tumbled nearly 2% on Monday, dropping to its lowest since December 1 at $1,170.17.

US gold futures for delivery in February were unchanged at $1,179.70/oz.

Liquidity was thin due to the upcoming Christmas holiday, while Japanese markets were closed on Tuesday for a public holiday.

"Technically if we close below the $1,180 much lower prices can be seen," Societe Generale analyst Robin Bhar said. "If the data today helps the dollar to rally even more, then everything comes under pressure again ... obviously positioning is going to be light in the next week but I think we could close the year at lower levels."

Wall Street closed at historic highs on Monday, boosting global equities and dampening demand for assets perceived as safer.

The dollar was down 0.1% against a basket of currencies, but still holding close to a nine-year peak. A weaker greenback makes dollar-denominated gold cheaper for holders of other currencies.

Data on US gross domestic product (GDP), durable goods orders and new homes sales, will be eyed for cues later in the session.

"Positioning still seems to be light in gold so we expect the market to remain contained during the holiday period, but big swings in other markets such as the dollar and crude will exacerbate moves due to the light liquidity," said MKS Group in a note.

Bullion found some support in the physical markets, where top consumer China saw bargain hunters emerge after the price drop on Monday.

Prices on the Shanghai Gold Exchange rose to a premium of up to $5/oz over the global benchmark, compared with $2-$3 in the previous session.

Data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released on Tuesday showed that Russia raised its gold reserves for an eighth month in a row in November, while Ukraine reduced bullion holdings for a second straight month. Significant buying and selling by central banks can influence gold prices.

Among other precious metals, silver rose 0.3% to $15.67/oz, after falling 2.6% to a three-week low of $15.49 on Monday. Platinum rose 0.9% to $1,188.80/oz and palladium gained 0.1% to $809/oz.

Source: Reuters