By A. Ananthalakshmi
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Gold rose on Monday to its highest level in a month because of weakness in the dollar plus a further decline in oil prices, which sparked safe-haven bids for the precious metal.
The dollar dipped after an unexpected fall in U.S. wages tainted what was otherwise a robust report on the labour market. The data added to speculation the Federal Reserve would be patient in raising interest rates, which could help non-interest-bearing gold.
Global oil prices are at their lowest level since April 2009.
Weaker oil prices tend to hurt gold as they reduce the need for gold as a hedge against oil-led inflation. But equity markets are taking a hit from persistent weakness in oil prices, fuelling the flight to safety.
"Normally, lower oil prices are a negative for gold, but prolonged oil price declines may be fanning concerns that further losses could have a dislocative impact on the financial markets and oil-exporting economies," HSBC analyst James Steel said. "This is creating safe-haven demand for gold."
Spot gold climbed to $1,228.20 an ounce, its highest since Dec. 11, and was trading up 0.3 percent at $1,226.76 at 0329 GMT. The metal gained about 1 percent on Friday, snapping a three-week decline.
The dollar index, a measure of the greenback's strength against six major currencies, dropped from a nine-year peak scaled last week. Asian share markets were mixed following a soft finish on Wall Street. [MKTS/GLOB]
SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose 0.42 percent to 707.82 tonnes on Friday. [GOL/ETF]
In addition, hedge funds and money managers raised their net long positions in gold and silver futures and options in the week to Jan. 6, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed on Friday.
Bullion was also getting some support from the physical markets, with buyers in top consumer China stocking up for the Lunar New Year holiday in February.
Premiums on the Shanghai Gold Exchange were between $4 and $5 an ounce, steady around last week's levels.
(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Michael Perry and Alan Raybould)