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Forex - Dollar holds onto modest gains, but remains near 5-week trough


US gold futures for April delivery settled up 2.2 percent at $1,227.10. Latest holdings of the largest silver-backed exchange-traded-fund (ETF), New York's iShares Silver Trust SLV, stood at 10,303.74 tonnes, remain unchanged from the previous business day.

EUR/USD slipped 0.29% to 1.0735, just off a five-week high of 1.0783 hit overnight.

By contrast, the euro was mostly unruffled by the result of the Dutch election Thursday morning, even after preliminary results backed up the earlier exit polls, showing that Prime Minister Mark Rutte had held off the challenge of far-right rival Geert Wilders.

Experts forecast the metal's price could reach $1,250 in the coming weeks, after the American central bank dampened hopes of more than three interest rate hikes in 2017.

Jeffrey Nichols, senior economic adviser for Rosland Capital, said recent gold trade has been driven in part by tapering momentum in the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.06% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.05% which have cooled their record-setting pace lately.

Spot gold gained 0.7 percent at $1,227.43 an ounce by 3:03 p.m. EDT (1903 GMT), after touching $1,233.13, the highest since March 6.

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Because the increase is widely expected, a key point of focus will be Fed Chair Janet Yellen's subsequent news conference, which investors will watch for hints on how quickly rates might be raised in the future. "The rate hike was priced in and we got it". Those views were given a jolt by Thursday's BoE minutes and forward interest rates for 12 months' time moved up by 4-5 basis points. It remains set to end the week 0.8 percent higher.

That helped Amsterdam's AEX stock index climb to its highest level in more than nine years, while both Germany's DAX and France's CAC 40 hit their highest levels since mid-2015 as fears eased that the euro zone was heading inexorably towards a break-up.

That gradual pace is one reason investors remain enthusiastic about stocks in the face of rising rates, which historically have spooked stock holders because they can slow economic growth and corporate profits. Meanwhile, Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 rose 0.2%. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose 0.6 percent and closed at a record high. Brent crude, which is used to price worldwide oils, rose 26 cents to $52.00 a barrel.

"Although bulls have exploited dollar's weakness to elevate gold, gains could be limited in the longer term if the Fed readopts an aggressive stance", said Lukman Otunuga, analyst at FXTM in a Friday research note.

But a softening of the joint draft statement's language on trade, removing a rejection of protectionism, speaks to a promised rise in US tariff barriers which has so far largely been seen as dollar-positive. Meanwhile, gold prices fell by 0.07 per cent to United States dollars 1,202.80 an ounce in Singapore today. The euro rose to $1.0733 from $1.0713, and the British pound rose to $1.2352 from $1.2301.

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