April 10, 2017 / 4:04 AM / 9 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold prices steady, geopolitical tensions support

 (Adds comment, updates prices)
    * Speculators raise net long positions in gold in week to
April 4
    * Spot gold may fall to $1,241/oz -technicals

    By Sethuraman N R
    April 10 (Reuters) - Gold held steady on Monday, buoyed as
growing geopolitical tensions continued to drive safe-haven
    Top aides to U.S. President Donald Trump differed on Sunday
on where U.S. policy on Syria was headed after last week's
attack on a Syrian air base, while U.S. Secretary of State Rex
Tillerson warned the strikes were a warning to other nations,
including North Korea.                         
    Spot gold        was mostly unchanged at $1,253.86 per ounce
by 0745 GMT, while U.S. gold futures         had dropped 0.2
percent to $1,255.40.
    The dollar index        on Monday rose as much as 0.15
percent to over 3-week highs at 101.340.
    "Somehow gold is keeping its $1,200-$1,250 range intact even
thought it keeps rising and falling," said Mark To, head of
research at Hong Kong's Wing Fung Financial Group.
    "I don't think it can have a further upside as even though
the (U.S. interest) rate hike expectations have come down; the
direction of hikes and monetary tightening are quite clear."
    The U.S. Federal Reserve might in the future avoid raising
interest rates at the same time that it begins the process of
shrinking its $4.5 trillion bond portfolio, prompting only a
"little pause", New York Fed President William Dudley said on
    "The U.S. Fed's rhetoric on balance sheet contraction, the
strengthening dollar, declining credit growth and inflation
expectations, are all negative for gold," said Stuart Allsopp,
Head of Country Risk and Financial Markets Strategy BMI
    "The technical picture suggests a correction is imminent,
albeit within a larger bull market as gold is going to rise with
inflation repression picking up on a longer term-perspective."
    Spot gold hit its highest since Nov. 10 at $1,270.46 on
Friday and crossed the 200-day moving average. But, it failed to
close above that key resistance level, making it difficult to
move higher.
    Spot gold may fall to $1,241 per ounce, as suggested by its
wave pattern and a Fibonacci retracement analysis, said Reuters
technical analyst Wang Tao.             
    But gold has been supported by safe-haven demand due to
mounting geopolitical tensions. A U.S. Navy strike group will be
moving toward the western Pacific Ocean near the Korean
peninsula as a show of force, as concerns grow about North
Korea's advancing weapons programme.
    Bullish sentiment on gold was also underpinned by U.S.
Commodity Futures Trading Commission data that showed
speculators raising their net long position in COMEX gold for
the third straight week in the week to April 4.             
    Spot silver        dropped 0.3 percent to $17.90 an ounce,
after hitting its best since Feb. 27 at $18.47 in the previous
    Platinum        declined 0.2 percent to $949.90 an ounce,
while palladium        fell 0.5 percent to $797.60.

 (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph
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