LONDON, Mar 2 (Reuters) Gold is expected to move back towards recent 25-year highs after holding key price levels in recent days, analysts said on Thursday.
Gold was hovering around the previous day's near-three-week high and was about $10 short of the peak of $574.60 an ounce hit on Feb.
Spot gold was quoted at $563.75/564.50 an ounce by 1033 GMT (1603 IST), against $563.40/564.30 late in New York on Wednesday, when it climbed to $566.50.
''The recent price consolidation...has built a very solid base for a move higher,'' said Frederic Panizzutti, metals analyst at MKS Finance.
''There are good reasons to expect gold to keep its momentum on the way higher. If you look at the fundamental reasons that helped gold to move higher last year and this year, I think most of them are still in place,'' Panizzutti said.
Gold has gained more than 30 per cent over the past 12 months, lifted by worries about inflation, economic growth and global political tensions.
''For the moment gold remains comfortable, base building above $560...but the yellow metal really needs to clear the $568-$572 congestion area in order to target last month's 25-year high of $575 and continue its trend higher,'' James Moore, analyst at TheBullionDesk.com, said in a note.
Yet the physical sector lacked activity as jewellers and investors waited for a price fall, and dealers said consumers might return if the market dropped to $550.
Premiums for gold bars in Singapore, a centre for bullion trading in Southeast Asia, were on a par with the London spot price.
''Even at zero premium, nobody wants to buy it,'' said Beh Hsia Wah, a dealer at United Overseas Bank in Singapore.
Silver pared gains after spiking to its highest in more than three weeks on Wednesday, with most workers at Mexico's Fresnillo silver mine likely to return to work after a strike.
Local union leader Gustavo Barrios said the union had decided any workers wanting to return to the job could do so on Thursday, after a walk-out stopped production at the mine, owned by the world's largest silver producer, Penoles.
The strike lifted the silver price to $9.84 an ounce in New York, but the rally was brief.
Spot silver was at $9.76/9.79, slightly above its level in the U.S. market overnight.
Platinum rose to a three-week high of $1,053 an ounce before dropping to $1,049/1,053, still higher than $1,045/1,050 in New York. Palladium was down $1 at $291/295 an ounce.
REUTERS SD RN1732