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PRECIOUS-Gold hits 5-mth high on safe-haven demand as US strikes Syria
April 7, 2017 / 2:31 AM / 8 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold hits 5-mth high on safe-haven demand as US strikes Syria

    * U.S. launches cruise missiles against Syrian air base
    * Asia shares, S&P 500 futures fall on risk aversion
    * Yen, gold rise on safe-haven buying
    * Spot gold may rise to $1,281/oz -technicals
    * Gold on track for fourth straight week of gains

 (Adds comment, updates prices)
    By Sethuraman N R
    April 7 (Reuters) - Gold rose more than 1 percent on Friday
to hit a 5-month high as investors sought safe-haven assets
after the United States launched cruise missiles against a
Syrian air base, potentially escalating tensions with Syrian
allies Russia and Iran.
    U.S. President Donald Trump unleashed the military strikes
in response to a deadly chemical attack on a rebel-held area, a
U.S. official said on Thursday.             
    Spot gold        had risen 1 percent to $1,263.53 per ounce
by 0650 GMT. It earlier climbed as much as 1.4 percent to its
highest since Nov. 10 at $1,269.28, and was on track for a
fourth straight week of gains.
    U.S. gold futures         also climbed 1 percent to $1,266
an ounce.
    "Clearly this raises the stakes and we expect to see gold
prices continuing to push higher in the short-term, at least
until there is some clarity around whether this is a one-off or
develops into something more," said ANZ analyst Daniel Hynes.
    Stocks fell and safe-haven bonds and the yen jumped in Asia
on Friday after the missile strike.            
    The dollar fell 0.2 percent against the safe-haven Japanese
yen to 110.54       .
    Investors had already been on edge as Trump met Chinese
leader Xi Jinping on Thursday for talks over flashpoints such as
North Korea and China's huge trade surplus with the United
States.             
    "My initial thoughts are the new president (Trump) is
sending a big message to the Chinese about their willingness to
act on North Korea as well with this strike," said Jeffrey
Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.
    Besides the risk-aversion sentiment in the market, gold is
also supported by technicals, analysts said.
    "Gold has broken the 200-day moving average intra-day and
has tested its upper resistance at $1,264, the Feb. 28 high. A
daily close above these levels can open a technical move to
$1,300 with support now at $1,250," Halley said.
    Spot gold is expected to break resistance at $1,273 per
ounce and rise more to the next resistance level at $1,281, as
suggested by its wave pattern and a Fibonacci retracement
analysis, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.
            
    "We saw several foreign investors buying and Chinese
investors selling as the prices rose this morning," said a
trader with a Shanghai-based bullion bank.
    "Most investors in China think this is a short term impact.
These kind of events, unless they cause more severe
consequences, will only result in a spike in gold prices."
    Investors will also watch out for March U.S. non-farm
payrolls data due later on Friday, which analysts say could be
key for the short-term direction of the gold market.
    Strong job gains will likely add upward pressure on wages,
supporting higher interest rates, which could pressure gold.
    Higher interest rates reduce investor appetite for
non-interest bearing gold. 
    Spot silver        rose 0.8 percent to $18.37 an ounce,
after touching $18.47, the most since Feb. 27.
    Platinum        rose 0.2 percent to $961.05, while palladium
       was up 0.6 percent to $807.50

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

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