April 19, 2018 / 10:38 AM / 4 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold breaks string of gains as global tensions ease

    * Silver hits 2-1/2-month high
    * Spot gold faces resistance at $1,356/oz -technicals
    * Higher base metal prices could boost inflation -analysts

 (Updates prices; adds comment, second byline, NEW YORK
dateline)
    By Renita D. Young and Eric Onstad
    NEW YORK/LONDON, April 19 (Reuters) - Gold prices dipped on
Thursday, breaking a string of gains for four successive
sessions, in response to a decline in global political tensions.
    Spot gold        lost 0.2 percent at $1,346.20 per ounce by
1:38 p.m. EDT (1738 GMT), while June U.S. gold futures        
settled down $4.70, or 0.4 percent, at $1,348.80 per ounce. 
    "Uncertainty has decreased somewhat. Geopolitical worries,
trade risk have moved to the background," said ABN AMRO
commodity strategist Georgette Boele.
    U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he hoped a
summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would be successful
while Western missile strikes in Syria were less extensive than
some had feared.             
    Earlier in the week, a senior administration official said
Trump delayed imposing additional sanctions on Russia.
            
    Boele said she expected gold to decline to around $1,330
after failing to break above resistance.
    "There was a bit of upward momentum, but you are still in
the $1,300-$1,365 range. It's more of a technical trade at the
moment - it tries the upside again and if that doesn't succeed
then it falls back."
    "Rates are up and dollar-supportive. The Fed still seems to
be on the path for tightening. The Fed and cryptocurrencies, a
bit, have been hampering (gold)," said Dan Denbow, USAA senior
portfolio manager.                    
    Rising yields make gold a less attractive investment because
it does not draw interest.
    Meanwhile, spot silver prices        rose 0.6 percent to
$17.25 per ounce after touching their highest since Feb. 1 of
$17.35.
    "A bounce in silver is not a surprise to me because you have
lower liquidity and it's more sensitive to sentiment," Boele
said, adding that she expected silver to follow gold lower in
coming days or weeks.
    "The precious metals fought through some headwinds
yesterday. Everything except silver is succumbing to those
headwinds today," said Chris Gaffney, president of world markets
at EverBank.
    Silver also is used for industrial purposes, so it has been
lifted by a rally in base metals.
    "The downside is relatively limited in silver because it was
the one that was pushed too low. Also there are no positions to
be squeezed."     
    Silver has been the worst performing precious metal over the
past six months, little changed versus a rise of 4.5 percent for
gold and 7.7 percent for palladium.
    Platinum        lost 0.2 percent at $933.24 per ounce. It
touched more than a three-week high of $953.50 earlier in the
day.
    Palladium        fell 0.3 percent to $1,032.40 per ounce,
after marking its highest since Feb. 27 of $1,057.20. 

 (Additional reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by
Jane Merriman and Richard Chang)
  
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