* European shares hit 2-year highs, dollar index eases
* ECB, BoJ and BOE policy meetings due later this week
* Platinum outperforms on news of new Lonmin strike
* Bank of America-Merrill Lynch cuts gold price forecasts (Updates prices, adds new analyst quotes)
By Jan Harvey and Natalie Huet
LONDON, March 5 (Reuters) - Gold prices rose on Tuesday, snapping four days of losses, as expectations that central banks would stick to ultra-loose monetary policy this week helped lift European stocks to a two-year high and weighed on the dollar.
Successive rounds of quantitative easing and similar monetary stimulus measures have kept liquidity high and interest rates low in the United States, Europe and Japan in recent years, fuelling a rally in gold.
Hopes that stimulus would continue were boosted by comments from Federal Reserve official Janet Yellen late on Monday, and by expectations new economic forecasts in the euro zone could open the way to looser policy from the European Central Bank.
"The latest comments from central banks and particularly from the Fed showed that there is still willingness to stimulate the economy, so this is positive for sentiment," Credit Suisse analyst Tobias Merath said.
"But if you look at performance... platinum is better than gold today, silver is outperforming gold, so it's really a bit skewed towards the cyclical market," he noted.
Spot gold, which has fallen more than 5 percent since the beginning of the year, was up 0.7 percent at $1,583.86 an ounce at 1455 GMT, while U.S. gold futures for April delivery were up $11.40 an ounce at $1,583.80.
The euro rose against the dollar after better-than-feared euro zone business surveys but gains were capped by speculation that the ECB will cut interest rates to help the increasingly divided bloc towards economic recovery.
ECB policymakers meet in Frankfurt on Thursday as political deadlock in Italy fuels fears the euro zone crisis could reignite. The bank is likely to hold off quick-fire action, but could hint at looser policy in future.
The Bank of Japan and the Bank of England are also set to hold two-day monetary policy meetings from Wednesday.
"Behind (Fed chairman Ben) Bernanke's dovish appearance last week, from the January minutes and from the end of last year, we know the hawks are getting louder, saying we need at least a contingency plan to pull out of (QE)," VTB Capital analyst Andrey Kryuchenkov said.
"In Europe, we don't even have that. (ECB President Mario) Draghi maintains a dovish stance even without lowering the rate. In any case the dollar is looking much more favourable than the euro."
SPDR SEES FRESH OUTFLOW
Appetite for gold-backed exchange-traded funds remained soft, with the largest, New York's SPDR Gold Shares, reporting a ninth straight daily outflow of metal on Monday, this time of 0.6 tonnes.
The fund reported its largest ever monthly outflow last in February and has seen holdings fall by 97.5 tonnes since the start of the year, compared to a 39-tonne rise in the same period of 2012.
Bank of America-Merrill Lynch cut its gold price forecasts on Tuesday, saying it now sees gold at $1,680 an ounce this year, against a previous forecast of $1,805, and at $1,838 in 2014, against $2,038. It slashed its 2015 forecast by more than 10 percent to $1,675 an ounce, from $1,900.
For now, the lower prices of gold are attracting demand in key Asian physical markets, Standard Bank said in a note.
"Encouragingly, the buying activity appears widespread across South East Asia and, therefore, does not appear to be a result of country-specific factors but rather is due to general enthusiasm for the metal at these low prices," it said.
Among other precious metals, silver was up 1.7 percent at $29.02 an ounce. Spot platinum was up 1.4 percent at $1,587.24 an ounce, while spot palladium was up 1.8 percent at $727.46 an ounce.
Platinum prices rose sharply after news of fresh labour unrest at the world's number three platinum miner Lonmin , which said on Tuesday thousands of workers at its Marikana mine had gone on an illegal strike. (Additional reporting by Rujun Shen in Singapore; editing by James Jukwey)