March 29, 2018 / 4:29 AM / a month ago

PRECIOUS-Gold steadies as N. Korea, global trade concerns ease

 (Recasts with updated prices, adds quote and details)
    * Gold heads for a third straight quarterly rise
    * Silver set post its worst quarter in three
    * Platinum to post worst month since September
    * Palladium on track for worst quarter since end-2015

    By Swati Verma
    BENGALURU, March 29 (Reuters) - Gold prices held largely
steady on Thursday, a day after posting its biggest one-day
percentage fall in nearly 9 months, as tensions over North Korea
and global trade eased.
    Spot gold        was nearly unchanged at $1,325.16 per ounce
at 0736 GMT, after hitting a low of $1,322.50 earlier in the
session, it's lowest since March 21.
    Prices dropped 1.5 percent on Wednesday, their biggest
one-day percentage decline since July 3, 2017. 
    U.S. gold futures         for April delivery were steady at
$1,324 per ounce.
    "There was a premium in the (gold) price due to both the
trade issue and with the North Korea. Both of these tensions
look to be less inflamed currently," said Cameron Alexander, an
analyst with Thomson Reuters-owned metals consultancy GFMS.
    North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un pledged his commitment to
denuclearisation and meet U.S. officials, China said on
Wednesday after his meeting with President Xi Jinping, who
promised China would uphold friendship with its isolated
neighbour.             
    Gold, often seen as an alternative investment during times
of political and financial uncertainty, was on track for a third
straight quarter of gains, having risen nearly 2 percent so far.
    Concerns about the global trade war have eased but that
doesn't mean it is over, said Brian Lan, managing director at
dealer GoldSilver Central in Singapore.
    U.S. President Donald Trump's tariffs on Chinese goods may
not be imposed until early June, administration officials said
on Wednesday, with public consultations and potential tariff
revisions buying time for negotiations to forestall them.
            
    In other precious metals, spot silver        was steady
after falling to $16.20 per ounce, its lowest in one week.
Silver was on track to post its worst quarter in three.
    Platinum        rose 0.5 percent to $936.30 per ounce, after
hitting a near three-month low in the previous session. The
metal was down about 5 percent so far this month, on course to
post its worst month since September.
    Palladium        was up 0.3 percent to $968.90 an ounce. 
    Palladium was set to fall over 7 percent this month, the
steepest drop since December 2016.
    For the quarter, the metal is down more than 8 percent so
far, its worst since the quarter ended December 2015. 

 (Reporting by Swati Verma and Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru;
Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Amrutha Gayathri)
  
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