Gold prices firm as dollar rally takes a breather



* Gold prices hit lowest since late-September on Wednesday

* Until the dollar tops, gold likely is a punt - analyst (Updates prices)

By Bharat Gautam

July 7 (Reuters) - Gold prices rose on Thursday from nine-month lows hit in the previous session, after a break in the dollar's rally alleviated pressure on bullion, but analysts warned that the relief was likely to be temporary.

Spot gold XAU= firmed 0.4% to $1,744.89 per ounce by 0634 GMT, as the dollar dipped about 0.2% after reaching 20-year highs on Wednesday, lending support to greenback-priced bullion.

U.S. gold futures GCv1 rose 0.4% to $1,743.30.

"With momentum pointing south, dip buyers are effectively trying to catch a falling knife," said Matt Simpson, senior market analyst at City Index.

"$1,721 and $1,700 are potential levels of support for bulls to consider taking a punt ... but until the dollar tops, it likely is a punt."

In the previous session, strength in the dollar pushed bullion down as much as 1.9% to $1,731.00, its lowest level since Sept. 30.

"This decline has room to continue," Ilya Spivak, a currency strategist at DailyFX said, adding that if gold falls through the support at $1,715 per ounce, it could head under the $1,700 figure to the vicinity of about $1,680.

A deteriorating inflation situation prompted U.S. Federal Reserve officials to rally around an outsized interest rate increase, minutes of the central bank's June 14-15 policy meeting showed on Wednesday.

Trading in gold was volatile over the past month as traders awaited a fresh catalyst for prices, which were hemmed into a range by support from a worsening economic outlook and the weight of an elevated dollar.

Higher interest rates and bond yields lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

Asian stocks managed gradual gains on Thursday as investors grappled with the risks of a possible recession and a potential pause in interest rate hikes.

Spot silver XAG= rose 0.8% to $19.34 per ounce, platinum XPT= gained 0.7% to $861.73, and palladium XPD= climbed 1.1% to $1,926.31.
Reporting by Bharat Govind Gautam in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel and Shounak Dasgupta

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