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Gold hits two-week high as dollar falls after G20 trade message

Gold bangles are on display as a woman makes choices at a jewellery showroom during Dhanteras, a Hindu festival associated with Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, in Kolkata, India October 28, 2016. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri/File Photo

By Maytaal Angel

LONDON (Reuters) - Gold prices scaled a two-week peak on Monday as the dollar slid to a six-week low after a G20 weekend summit dominated by the U.S. administration's protectionist stance on global trade.

The precious metal has been rising since Wednesday, when the dollar dropped after the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates but stopped short of predicting a sharper acceleration in monetary tightening over the next two years.

Gold is sensitive to falling interest rates, which reduces the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

"Overall the geopolitical outlook still points to several hotspots ... and we're not going to see a focus on rate rises for the foreseeable future now, because that's out the way. Over the next few weeks one has to favour the upside," said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank.

Spot gold rose 0.3 percent to $1,231.45 an ounce by 1450 GMT, after touching $1,235.50, its highest since March 6.

U.S. gold futures gained 0.1 percent to $1,231.80.

Breaking a decade-long tradition of endorsing open trade, G20 finance ministers and central bankers made only a token reference to trade at the weekend, acquiescing to an increasingly protectionist United States.

Global equities baulked at the move, and the souring risk appetite drove investors into safe haven gold.

The precious metal has rebounded more than $35 from the low hit before the Fed policy announcement last Wednesday, while the dollar has fallen 1.7 percent.

"The dovish outlook ... following last Wednesday’s Fed meeting is clearly still having an impact. This is likely to lure a number of speculative financial investors back into gold after this group massively reduced their net long positions in the run-up to the meeting," Commerzbank said.

Money managers reduced their net long, or buy, positions in gold by 44,058 lots to 49,835 lots during the week to March 14, the lowest since early January.

Spot gold is expected to test resistance at $1,237, a break above which could lead to gains to $1,243, Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao said.

Denting the bullish gold narrative, holdings of SPDR Gold, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.35 percent to 834.10 tonnes on Friday.

Spot silver rose 0.4 percent to $17.41 an ounce, while platinum was up 0.8 percent at $965.50 and palladium firmed by 0.5 percent to $776.50.

(Additional reporting by Nallur Sethuraman; Editing by David Goodman and Edmund Blair)