Gold prices recover from 3-week lows, gains checked

Gold prices moved higher on Tuesday, pulling away from three-week lows struck in the previous session, but gains were held in check as indications that the U.S. economy is improving continued to weigh.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for June delivery were last up 0.19% to $1,290.90. On Monday, gold fell to lows of $1,282.00, the weakest since April 3.

Gold found some support as the dollar drifted lower against a basket of major currencies in subdued trade, as financial centers in Europe reopening following the long Easter weekend.

The US dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, dipped 0.09% to 79.96.

A weaker greenback makes it cheaper for holders of other currencies to buy gold.

Concerns over heightened tensions in Ukraine continued to underpin safe haven demand for the precious metal.

A diplomatic accord aimed a de-escalating the crisis in eastern Ukraine showed signs of faltering on Monday, with the U.S. and Russia both blaming each other for not implementing the terms of the agreement reached in Geneva last Thursday.

The U.S. has drawn up plans for further economic sanctions against Russia if it fails to take concrete steps to implement the terms of the Geneva accord.

Gold, seen as a safe haven investment, usually benefits from economic and geopolitical turmoil.

Elsewhere, in metals trading, silver for May delivery was up 0.51% to $19.450 a troy ounce, while copper for May delivery was down 0.42% to $3.030 a pound.