August 29, 2017 / 3:57 AM / a year ago

PRECIOUS-Gold hits 9-1/2-month high as North Korea tensions escalate

    * Spot gold expected to rise to $1,337/oz - technicals
    * Silver hits near 3-month high, platinum at near six-month

 (Updates prices and adds paragraph on SPDR gold holdings)
    By Apeksha Nair
    BENGALURU, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Gold prices rose for a third
straight session on Tuesday to their highest since November as
mounting geopolitical tensions over a new North Korean missile
launch stoked demand for safe-haven assets and  weighed heavily
on the dollar and equities.
    Spot gold        was up 0.6 percent at $1,317.47 per ounce,
as of 0627 GMT, after earlier hitting $1,322.33, its highest
since Nov. 9.
    Gold gained 1.4 percent in the previous session in its
biggest one-day percentage rise since mid-May.
    U.S. gold futures         for December delivery rose 0.6
percent to $1,323.00 per ounce.
    South Korea and Japan said the missile North Korea launched
early on Tuesday landed in Pacific waters east of Hokkaido after
flying over the northern Japanese island, in a sharp escalation
of tensions on the Korean peninsula.             
    "North Korea's missiles over the Japanese Hokkaido islands
obviously fuelled buying for the flight for safety kind of money
including the Japanese yen and gold," said Yuichi Ikemizu, Tokyo
branch manager at ICBC Standard Bank.
    The news saw equities plunging and the yen touching
four-month highs against the dollar.            
    Geopolitical risks can boost demand for safe-haven assets
such as gold which is considered a good store of value during
volatility in other markets. 
    Spot gold is expected to rise to $1,337 per ounce, as it has
cleared a resistance at $1,312, said Reuters technical analyst
Wang Tao.             
    "Since it broke the $1,300 resistance, I think the market
really changed," Ikemizu said.
    "I don't think gold will be going back to $1,200 anymore...
there's more bullish factors in this market."
    The metal was also drawing support from uncertainty
surrounding President Donald Trump's administration in the U.S.
after his remarks raised fears of a government shutdown last
    Trump on Monday said he hoped a government shutdown would
not be necessary over his demand that the U.S. Congress fund his
proposed wall along the southern border with Mexico.            
    Meanwhile, holdings of SPDR Gold Trust      , the world's
largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 1.1 percent to
814.36 tonnes on Monday.    
    Among other precious metals, silver        rose 0.4 percent
to $17.48 per ounce. Earlier in the session, it hit $17.56, its
highest since early June.
    Platinum        gained 0.3 percent to $989.60 per ounce,
after marking its highest since early March at $994.10, early in
the day.
    Palladium        climbed 0.7 percent higher to $939.50 an
ounce, trading within sight of its 16-1/2-year high of $940.50
hit on Friday.

 (Reporting by Apeksha Nair; additional reporting by Arpan
Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and
Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
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