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Written by: Staff

SYDNEY, Sep 11 (Reuters) Gold prices took a further tumble at the start of trading on Monday, shedding 0.7 percent in step with declining crude oil prices and a steady U.S. dollar.

-- Spot gold cost $604.50/$605.50 an ounce at 0043 GMT, down from $608.90 in late trading on Friday.

-- ''Gold's taking a beating on the back of oil, though there's support around $600,'' a bullion dealer in Sydney said.

-- Oil prices slipped under $66 on Monday, adding to last week's slide on an improved U.S. supply picture and signs of easing tension over Iran's nuclear programme.

-- Gold opened in Sydney at $606.30/$607.30 an ounce.

-- In currencies, the dollar was slightly softer against the Japanese yen and flat versus the euro compared with Friday's late levels.

-- ''The dollar's not helping gold much this morning,'' the dealer said.

-- Gold often moves in the opposite direction to the dollar and is seen as a hedge against inflation.

-- Friday's fall was accelerated because of stop-loss selling as prices fell below key technical levels.

-- Gold has fallen more than 5 percent after hitting a four-week high of $640.25 last Wednesday.

-- Gold futures <0#JAU:> on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange were mixed with actively traded June down 58 yen per gram at 2,288 yen and August down 61 yen at 2,293 yen.

-- Platinum gained $1 to $1,221/$1,226 to an ounce from $1,220/1,228 late in New York.

-- Sister metal palladium gained $4 to $326/331 an ounce from $322/$327.

-- Silver was down 13 cents at $11.93/11.98 an ounce from $12.06/$12.13 late in New York.


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