April 12, 2017 / 7:35 AM / 3 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold hits 5-mth peak as geopolitical tensions drive flight to safety

4 Min Read

    * Unease grows over North Korea, Syria, Russia tensions
    * SPDR Gold holdings rise by about 6 tonnes this week

 (Updates prices, adds graphic)
    By Sethuraman N R
    April 12 (Reuters) - Gold climbed to a 5-month high on
Wednesday, extending its nearly 2 percent gains from the
previous session, as investors shifted to safe-haven assets with
tensions rising over the United States' relations with North
Korea and Russia.
    Spot gold        was mostly unchanged at $1,274 per ounce by
0716 GMT after hitting its strongest since Nov. 10 at 1,279.80
earlier in the session.    
    U.S. gold futures         rose 0.2 percent to $1,276.
    Heightened tensions in the Korean peninsula, and the Middle
East following U.S. strikes on Syria, along with the upcoming
French presidential election, have left investors nervous. 
    "Recently a degree of uncertainty has found its way into
previously seemingly bulletproof financial markets," ANZ
analysts wrote in a note.
    "There is clearly some nervousness out there, with
geopolitical tensions around North Korea ratcheting higher and
adding to an already heightened geopolitical environment." 
    North Korean state media warned on Tuesday of a nuclear
attack on the United States at any sign of American aggression,
as a U.S. Navy strike group steamed toward the western Pacific -
a force U.S. President Donald Trump described as an "armada".
             
    Trump said in a tweet that North Korea was "looking for
trouble" and the United States would "solve the problem" with or
without China's help.
    Meanwhile, the United States accused Russia on Tuesday of
trying to shield Syria's leader from blame for a deadly poison
gas attack last week, as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
brought a Western message to Moscow condemning its support for
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.             
    Elsewhere, French centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right
leader Marine Le Pen clung on as frontrunners on Tuesday in
France's tight presidential race, but the unpredictable outcome
is pushing some pollsters to calculate the most extreme runoff
scenarios.             
    Gold on Tuesday closed above the 200-day moving average for
the first time this year after struggling to do so over the past
few weeks.
    "Gold has finally broken and closed above its 200-day moving
average at $1,257.50, which now becomes a support. From a
technical perspective, the way is now clear for a run at $1,300
and possibly higher," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst
at OANDA.
    "The safe-haven effect is clearly in play once again ahead
of the Easter holiday with volumes in both spot and options well
above average."
    Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust      , the world's largest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund (ETF), rose 0.50 percent to
842.41 tonnes on Tuesday. The ETF has seen about six tonnes of
inflows this week.
    Among other precious metals, spot silver        was firm at
$18.31 an ounce.
    Platinum        fell 0.1 percent to $966.10 per ounce after
rising over 3 percent in the previous session, while palladium
       dropped 0.3 percent to $800.63.

    
 (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph
Radford and Biju Dwarakanath)
  

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