June 21, 2019 / 3:34 PM / 4 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold hits 6-year peak on Fed rate cut signals, U.S.-Iran unrest

* Gold likely to consolidate around $1,400 -analyst

* Spot gold up nearly 4% so far this week (Updates prices)

By Karthika Suresh Namboothiri

June 21 (Reuters) - Gold prices surpassed $1,400 on Friday before retreating, still holding near a six-year high on the U.S. central bank’s dovish stance on monetary policy.

Prices also found support from worries about a potential U.S. military strike against Iran and a global trade conflict.

Spot gold rose 0.6% to $1,396.34 per ounce as of 1:50 p.m. EDT (1750 GMT). U.S. gold futures settled 0.2% higher at $1,400.10 per ounce.

Prices surged to $1,410.78 in the session, a high not seen since early September 2013, and were set to mark their best week in over three-years.

Bullion rates have jumped more than 5% since the U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday hinted interest rate cuts were possible later this year, as it responded to increased economic uncertainty and tepid inflation.

“Gold is seeing a continuation move from bullish comments throughout the week, most notably the fact that world central banks easing monetary policy is generally very supportive for commodities overall, particularly gold,” said David Meger, director of metals trading at High Ridge Futures.

Middle East tensions have supported the gold market, while the U.S.-China trade war continues to concern investors, he added.

After initially approving military strikes against Iran in retaliation for the downing of an unmanned surveillance drone, U.S. President Donald Trump pulled back from launching the attacks.

Gold is often considered a safe haven in times of political and economic uncertainty.

U.S.-China trade talks are set to resume ahead of a G20 meeting next week. Hopes for an agreement have grown somewhat, but neither side has signaled a shift from positions that led to an impasse last month.

Gold prices traded within a wide range of $28.78, retreating from the more than $1,400 level touched earlier in the day.

“The levels above $1,400 are near term resistance, so you would not be surprised to see the market consolidate around this psychological level,” High Ridge Futures’ Meger said.

The next Fed meeting is six weeks away and investors are digesting this week’s signal for a rate cut, analysts said, indicating there may be few bullish cues to lift bullion prices any higher for now.

“To sustain it (the bullish run in gold), you can’t go too quickly too fast,” said Ross Norman, chief executive at bullion dealer Sharps Pixley.

Among other precious metals, silver dipped 1% to $15.27 per ounce, while platinum was up 0.8% at $808.75.

Palladium climbed 1.5% to $1,500.51 an ounce and was headed for a third consecutive weekly gain. (Reporting by Karthika Suresh Namboothiri and Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Tom Brown and Richard Chang)

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