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PRECIOUS-Gold edges up on Ukraine; platinum, palladium add to gains
May 14, 2014 / 3:13 AM / 4 years ago

PRECIOUS-Gold edges up on Ukraine; platinum, palladium add to gains

* Platinum, palladium rise after gaining 1 pct in previous
    * Gold firm below $1,300

 (Updates prices)
    By A. Ananthalakshmi
    SINGAPORE, May 14 (Reuters) - Platinum and palladium on
Wednesday added to sharp gains made overnight on worries that
increasing labour tensions in major producer South Africa could
hurt supply, while gold edged up on escalating violence in
    South Africa upped security in the platinum belt after four
deaths over the weekend to protect miners who have decided to
ditch a 16-week strike that has halted 40 percent of normal
global output.
    Hundreds of stick-wielding miners barricaded roads and
torched roadside vegetable stalls near Lonmin's South African
platinum mine on Tuesday, in an attempt to block fellow strikers
from breaking rank and going back to work. 
    Platinum edged up 0.4 percent to $1,452.00 an ounce
after jumping about 1 percent in the previous session to its
highest in a month. Palladium also rose 0.4 percent after
rising overnight to a one-week high. 
    The violence indicates "the potential for this strike to
linger on as the inflexibility of the unions remains deeply
entrenched," Nomura analysts said in a note.
    "Although the majority of workers appear to want to return
to work, the inability for adequate security to be provided is
likely to erode the restart timeliness further," the analysts
said. "The impact from stockpiles having been reduced will
likely start to affect the market going forward."
    South Africa is the top producer of platinum and second
biggest producer of palladium after Russia. 
    Meanwhile, gold edged up 0.2 percent to $1,294.81 an
ounce by 0657 GMT. The metal is often seen as a safe-haven
investment at times of political uncertainty.
    Pro-Russian separatists ambushed Ukrainian troops on
Tuesday, killing seven in the heaviest loss of life for
government forces in a single clash since Kiev sent soldiers to
put down a rebellion in the country's east. 
    With the uprising and Russia's annexation of Crimea
poisoning East-West relations, Moscow retaliated against U.S.
sanctions by hitting aerospace projects, including refusing to
extend the life of the International Space Station, a showcase
of post-Cold War cooperation.
    "We remain constructive on the (precious metals) group as a
whole as we think the geopolitical tensions with the Ukraine,
coupled with the spiralling unrest in South Africa, will both
combine to provide more upside impetus," said INTL FCStone
analyst Edward Meir.
    PRICES AT 0657 GMT     
 Metal            Last     Change  Pct chg
 Spot gold        1294.81  2.07    0.16
 Spot silver      19.5     0.02    0.1
 Spot platinum    1452     4.9     0.34
 Spot palladium   816.5    3.5     0.43
 Comex gold       1295.2   0.4     0.03
 Comex silver     19.58    0.033   0.17
 Euro             1.3718           
 DXY              80.032           
 COMEX gold and silver contracts show the
 most active months
 (Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Ed Davies, Joseph
Radford and Subhranshu Sahu)

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