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Gold steady near two-month highs on North Korea tensions

Reuters  |  BENGALURU 

By Nithin ThomasPrasad

(Reuters) - Gold prices held steady after touching their highest in over two months on Friday and were on track for a weekly gain, buoyed as rising tensions between the United States and North Korea triggered safe-haven buying.

"Much of the rally (in gold) is because of the increased safe-haven demand," said OCBC Bank analyst Barnabas Gan.

Trump warned North Korea again on Thursday not to strike Guam or U.S. allies, saying his earlier threat to unleash "fire and fury" on Pyongyang if it launched an attack may not have been tough enough.

Geopolitical risks can boost demand for assets considered safe-haven investments, such as gold.

Spot gold was nearly flat at $1,285.76 per ounce at 0447 GMT and was set for a weekly gain of over 2 percent. Earlier in the session, it marked its highest since June 8 at $1,288.92 an ounce.

U.S. gold futures for December delivery rose 0.2 percent to $1,291.80 per ounce.

"Traders should closely watch equities today, with further falls and risk aversion likely pumping more safe-haven flows into metals," said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at OANDA.

Asian equity markets extended a slide on Friday, sending investors fleeing to less risky assets such the yen, the Swiss franc and U.S. Treasuries.

The market also awaited U.S. consumer inflation data on Friday that would offer more clues about the pace of the U.S. Federal Reserve's monetary tightening.

"I think with gold prices, we still have to be cautious. A lot of it (the rally) is due to the risk premium," said Gan.

"A quick unwinding of prices to below $1,250 an ounce is very possible, especially if the tensions ease quickly and if growth continues performing the way it is, with most incoming economic data suggesting a rosy economic outlook."

Meanwhile, gold demand in India remained sluggish this week as local prices jumped to their highest level in nearly three months and a rally in prices dampened fresh buying elsewhere in Asia.

Silver was nearly flat at $17.08 per ounce after hitting $17.24, its highest since June 14 in the previous session. It was on course for an over 5 percent weekly rise, its highest such gain since July 2016.

Platinum climbed 0.2 percent to $978.00 per ounce after touching $984.60 during the session, its highest since April 18. It was up about 2 percent for the week so far.

Palladium climbed 0.2 percent to $898.30 per ounce and was on track to end the week 2.4-percent higher.

(Reporting by Nithin Prasad and Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph Radford)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, August 11 2017. 10:55 IST
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