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PRECIOUS-Gold firm as North Korea worries offer support
April 18, 2017 / 3:36 AM / in 4 months

PRECIOUS-Gold firm as North Korea worries offer support

    * Spot gold targets $1,265/oz - technicals
    * N. Korea vows more missile tests as U.S. steps up rhetoric
    * Silver off over 5-month highs hit in previous session

 (Updates prices)
    By Sethuraman N R
    April 18 (Reuters) - Gold held steady on Tuesday supported
by geopolitical tensions over North Korea and after falling from
a five-month high in the previous session on a firmer dollar. 
    Spot gold        was mostly unchanged at $1,284.56 per ounce
by 0730 GMT, after climbing to $1,295.42 in the prior session,
its highest since Nov. 9.
    U.S. gold futures         were down 0.5 percent at
$1,285.90.
    U.S. Vice President Mike Pence reassured Japan of American
commitment to reining in North Korea's nuclear and missile
ambitions on Tuesday, after warning that U.S. strikes in Syria
and Afghanistan showed the strength of its resolve.             
    "Gold looks fairly attractive at the current juncture as a
safe haven bet with geopolitical tensions on a rise and concerns
ahead of French elections," said Sugandha Sachdeva, head of
metals, energy & currency research at Religare Securities.
     "The Indian festival of Akshay Tritiya (in late April)
should provide a fillip to physical demand and thus the prices,"
Sachdeva said, adding that the metal, however, was vulnerable to
profit taking.
    With the first round of France's presidential election on
April 23, an unpredictable outcome is pushing some pollsters to
calculate the most extreme runoff scenarios after Trump's
surprising U.S. presidential win in November and Britain's
unexpected exit from the European Union in July.             
    "This weekend’s French Presidential first round elections
are looking increasingly murky, and this will most likely fan
safe-haven fires," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at
OANDA.
    "It will be news headlines and opinion polls that would
drive gold’s short-term direction."
    The dollar edged higher after U.S. Treasury Secretary said
he saw the currency's strength over the long-term as a positive,
although he agreed with Trump's view that it hurts exports in
the short-term.                    
    "Trump’s penchant for a slightly weaker dollar and a gradual
rise in rates is indicative of more legs to the recent rally in
gold," Sachdeva of Religare Securities said.
    A stronger greenback makes dollar-denominated gold more
expensive for buyers paying in other currencies while a slower
pace of interest rate gains would help maintain demand for
non-interest bearing gold.
    Spot gold may break a support at $1,281 per ounce and fall
to the next support at $1,265, following its failure to break a
trendline falling from the July 11, 2016 high of $1,374.71,
Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao said.             
    Spot silver        edged up 0.1 percent to $18.40 per ounce,
after hitting over a five month high of $18.649 in the prior
session.
    Platinum rose 0.3 percent to $982.50 per ounce, while
palladium rose 0.1 percent to $789.90.

 (Reporting By Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph
Radford and Christian Schmollinger)
  

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