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

Date 8/11/2017 3:17:01 PM Source: Thomson Reuters



* 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


    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 SHMET)