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By Jan Harvey
LONDON (Reuters) - Gold steadied on Tuesday above $1,275 an ounce as the dollar stabilised versus a currency basket, with the metal still hemmed within this quarter's narrow price range ahead of fresh signals on U.S. tax reform.
The dollar, which received a boost on Monday after the U.S. Senate approved a tax overhaul over the weekend, steadied as investors waited to see how the next step of the legislation proceeds.
The Senate must now reconcile its version of the bill with legislation passed by the House of Representatives.
Spot gold was at $1,275.81 an ounce at 1035 GMT, little changed from $1,275.91 late on Monday. U.S. gold futures for December delivery were up 60 cents an ounce at $1,278.30.
It has held broadly between $1,271 and $1,289 so far this month, after posting its narrowest monthly range in 12 years in November. The metal has risen 10 percent in the year to date, but momentum has stalled in the second half as global equities rallied and an expected hike in U.S. interest rates approached.
"The economic backdrop is benign, meaning there is no real reason to jump into gold, so investment demand is somewhat soft," Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke said. "Overall physical demand is down to multi-year lows, so even outside the investment community, there is no real push into gold from the likes of China and India."
"Without this demand spark, gold just remains very, very sensitive to the U.S. dollar."
A stronger dollar makes assets priced in the U.S. currency more expensive for holders of other currencies.
Investors are also looking ahead to the upcoming U.S. non-farm payrolls report later this week, which will be the last employment report before the Federal Reserve's monetary policy meeting next week.
The Fed is almost certain to raise interest rates later this month, according to a Reuters poll of economists, a majority of whom now expect three more rate rises next year compared with two when surveyed just weeks ago.
Gold is highly sensitive to rising U.S. interest rates, which lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.
In 2018, gold will be pressured by several factors, including the likelihood of a modest recovery in the dollar, improvement in the U.S. economy and tightening of monetary policy by the largest central banks, ABN Amro said in a note.
"We no longer expect gold prices to rally in 2018," the bank said, forecasting the metal to average $1,375 an ounce next year.
Among other precious metals, silver was down 0.1 percent at $16.30 an ounce. Platinum was 0.1 percent lower at $922.40, and palladium was up 0.6 percent at $997.60.
(Additional reporting by Apeksha Nair and Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru, editing by David Evans)
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)