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Gold falls below $600, vulnerable

Gold prices slipped on Friday to hover

Gold prices slipped on Friday to hover below $600 an ounce, with selling driven by a dollar rise and oil price weakness.

The metal, which had jumped about five percent in a week, lacked the strength to crack key price levels in the near term, but was poised to gain strongly in the medium term, analysts said.

"Month- and quarter-end book-squaring is expected to be seen across the day. However, with oil prices stalling and the dollar edging high, gold is at risk of dipping back into the $573-$597 trading area," said James Moore, analyst at

Gold hit a high of $603.50 before falling to $598.85/599.35 by 1416 GMT, against New York's $603.00/604.00 late on Thursday.

Oil shed this week's gains and fell back toward $62 after OPEC member Nigeria appeared to be alone in its decision to trim output to stem a two-month price slide.

"Unless the oil price keeps going upward, there's not much else to push gold up. We've pushed above $600 but then it falls away very quickly. This is suggesting that things don't look too good," said a dealer in Sydney.

The metal regained $600 for the first time in more than two weeks on Thursday and rallied to $606.50 after a recovery by oil prices sparked investment buying.

"Obviously the bounce in oil prices helped gold...(but) I am not calling for a sharp increase from these levels in the very short term," John Reade, precious metals analyst at UBS Investment Bank, said