August 21, 2017 / 4:48 AM / a year ago

PRECIOUS-Gold little changed as investors focus on geopolitics, cbank meetings

    * Spot gold may retrace towards support at
    * Palladium off over 16-year highs touched on Friday
    * Markets keep close eye on U.S.-South Korea military

 (Adds third bullet, updates prices)
    By Apeksha Nair
    BENGALURU, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Gold prices were little
changed on Monday as investors sought further direction after a
week of geopolitical uncertainty in the United States and Europe
and ahead of a meeting of central bankers later this week. 
    Spot gold        edged 0.1 percent higher at $1,286.01 an
ounce by 0640 GMT, while U.S. gold futures         for December
delivery were flat at $1,291.70 per ounce. 
    The metal surged to its highest since November on Friday
when political and security concerns in the United States and
Spain jangled investors' nerves and stoked demand.             
    Prices, however, took a turn later on Friday when U.S.
President Donald Trump fired his chief strategist Steve Bannon
in the latest White House shake-up. Stock markets recovered
after the news and dollar rose as investors turned away from
safe-haven assets.             
    "Political tensions were running pretty high during the past
week but the news that Steve Bannon was (exiting) the White
House on Friday dented investor appetite slowly and at the
moment, investors are probably just waiting to see the lay of
the land before they decide to move either ways," said ANZ
analyst Daniel Hynes.
    Asian stocks and the dollar were little changed on Monday as
concerns around Trump's ability to deliver on pro-growth policy
promises lingered among investors. 
    Investors are also wary of any flare-up of tensions between
North Korea and United States as U.S. troops and South Korean
forces started a joint exercise on Monday.            
    Markets are also looking ahead to a top central bankers
meeting later this week in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where U.S.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's keynote speech will be
monitored for cues on further interest rate hikes this year.
    "Yellen's speech later in the week could potentially be a
market moving event for gold," ANZ's Hynes said.  
    Gold is highly sensitive to rising U.S. interest rates, as
higher rates increase the opportunity cost of holding
non-yielding bullion.
    Spot gold may retrace towards a support at $1,271 per ounce,
as it failed to break a resistance at $1,291, said Reuters
technical analyst Wang Tao.             
    Speculators hiked their net-long position in COMEX gold
futures and options for a fifth straight week in the week to
Aug. 15, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed
on Friday.         
    Among other precious metals, silver        rose 0.2 percent
to $16.96 an ounce and platinum rose 0.3 percent to $978.40 an
    Palladium        was 0.4 percent higher at $926.97 per
ounce, after climbing to its highest in over 16 years at $934 on

 (Reporting by Apeksha Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Kenneth
Maxwell and Christian Schmollinger)
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