January 11, 2017 / 11:02 AM / 8 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold at 7-week high as dollar falls after Trump speaks

* Gold turns higher after Trump news conference
    * Political uncertainty emanates from Europe
    * Platinum inches up to two-month high
    * Palladium prices could see correction -analyst

 (Recasts; updates prices; adds comment, byline, NEW YORK
dateline)
    By Marcy Nicholson and Pratima Desai
    NEW YORK/LONDON, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Gold rose to a
seven-week high on Wednesday, turning positive as the dollar
dropped and Treasury yields fell after U.S. President-elect
Donald Trump spoke in his first formal news conference just days
before taking office.
    U.S. stocks lost ground in choppy trading, led by drug
stocks after Trump said pharmaceutical companies were "getting
away with murder" by charging high drug prices. 
    "At the lows of the session, gold received a much-needed
'Trump bump' when the president-elect triggered an equity and
dollar selloff," said Tai Wong, director of base and precious
metals trading for BMO Capital Markets in New York.
    "Trump's timely intercession prevented further losses and
allowed gold to rally to new highs of the move at $1,198, helped
by a strong 10-year Treasury auction, which sparked a bond
rally."
    Trump also denounced unsubstantiated claims he had been
caught in a compromising position in Russia and said he handed
off control of his global business empire to his two oldest
sons.   
    Spot gold was up 0.4 percent at $1,192.61 an ounce by
2:32 p.m. EST (1932 GMT), after a choppy session that traded
from $1,176.94 to $1,198.40, the highest since Nov. 23.
    U.S. gold futures settled up $11.1, or 0.94 percent,
at $1,196.6 per ounce. 
    Analysts said elections over the course of the year in
France, the Netherlands and Germany are likely to create
political tensions in the European Union and support gold.
    "The uncertainty surrounding Brexit could lead to further
demand for gold from retail investors in the UK," Quantitative
Commodity Research analyst Peter Fertig said.
    Silver was up 0.5 percent at $16.70, but below
Tuesday's four-week high of $16.90.
    Platinum slipped 0.4 percent to $974.50 from an
earlier two-month peak at 982.60 and palladium dropped
1.3  percent to $754.20 an ounce, not far from Monday's
five-week high of $768.10. 
    Investors expect palladium, an industrial precious metal,
will benefit if tax cuts and higher government spending in the
major car markets of China and the United States boost auto
sales. 
    "While the medium to longer-term demand backdrop remains
compelling given its dominant usage in catalysts of gasoline
fueled cars, we still expect a short-term dent," Julius Baer
analysts said in a note.
    Palladium prices are closely linked to vehicle sales, which
were strong last year.
    "Sales in China were fueled by a tax cut, prompting
consumers to pull forward purchases. The tax cut was halved at
the beginning of this year and should result in lower sales over
the course of the coming months."    

 (Additional reporting by Swati Verma and Nallur Sethuraman in
Bengaluru; Editing by Jane Merriman and Meredith Mazzilli)

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