August 11, 2017 / 5:16 AM / 13 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold steady near 2-mth highs as N. Korea tensions lend support

    * Investors await U.S. CPI data due later on Friday
    * Platinum hits nearly four-month high
    * Silver on track for biggest weekly gain since July 2016

 (Updates prices)
    By Nithin ThomasPrasad
    BENGALURU, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Gold prices held steady after
touching their highest in more than two months on Friday, 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        inched down 0.1 percent to $1,284.64 per
ounce as of 0616 GMT, but 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 was mostly
unchanged at $1,290.50 per ounce. 
    "Traders should closely watch global equities today, with
further falls and risk aversion likely pumping more safe-haven
flows into precious metals," said Jeffrey Halley, a senior
market analyst at OANDA.
    Asian equity markets extended a global 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
global 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 global prices dampened fresh buying
elsewhere in Asia.              
    Silver        edged down 0.3 percent to $17.04 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, the
highest such gain since July 2016.
    Platinum        climbed 0.4 percent to $980.10 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 0.3 percent to $898.80 per ounce
and was on track to end the week 2.3-percent higher.

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

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