By Bharat Gautam

(Reuters) – Gold prices held ground near a three-month low on Friday as the strongest dollar in two decades continued to sap demand for greenback-priced bullion, setting up what could be the metal’s fourth consecutive weekly fall.

In choppy price action, spot gold was flat at $1,823.25 per ounce, as of 0244 GMT, hovering near its lowest level since Feb. 7 hit earlier in the session.

U.S. gold futures edged down 0.1% to $1,823.00.

“The fall through support by gold at $1,835.00, and the sell-off in other precious metals overnight, leave gold vulnerable to deeper losses and a potential test of support at $1,780.00 an ounce,” OANDA senior analyst Jeffrey Halley said.

The dollar steadied near a fresh 20-year high scaled on Thursday as concerns persisted that the U.S. Federal Reserve’s actions to tame inflationary pressures would crimp global economic growth, boosting the currency’s safe-haven appeal.

Bullion has lost 3.1% so far this week, its most in two months.

Last week, the U.S. central bank hiked its benchmark overnight interest rate by an aggressive half-a-percentage point.

Bullion is sensitive to rising U.S. short-term interest rates and bond yields, which raise the opportunity cost of holding it.

“Nominal yields will also climb, creating double-yield trouble for gold investors as the Fed will remain hawkish until inflation indicators fall,” said Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management.

Gold’s recent slide almost wipes out gains from a rally driven by safe-haven demand after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. The conflict powered gold prices all the way to near-record levels in mid-March.

Spot silver was up 0.6% at $20.79 per ounce, platinum gained 0.9% to $952.02, and palladium rose 1.9% to $1,944.77. However, all were poised for weekly losses.

(Reporting by Bharat Govind Gautam in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)