April 13, 2018 / 9:57 AM / in 9 months

PRECIOUS-Gold on track for second weekly gain as Syria concerns linger

    * Palladium set for biggest weekly rise since January 2017
    * GRAPHIC-2018 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl

 (Updates prices; adds comment, second byline, NEW YORK to
    By Renita D. Young and Zandi Shabalala
    NEW YORK/LONDON, April 13 (Reuters) - Gold prices rose on
Friday, heading for a second consecutive weekly gain on
lingering uncertainty over Western military action in Syria.
    U.S. President Donald Trump and his national security aides
on Thursday discussed options on Syria, where he has threatened
missile strikes in response to a suspected poison gas attack, as
a Russian envoy voiced fears of wider conflict between
Washington and Moscow.             
    Trump, however, cast doubt over the timing of his threatened
strike, tweeting that a U.S. attack "could be very soon or not
so soon at all".             
    Spot gold        increased 0.7 percent at $1,344.40 per
ounce by 1:38 p.m. EDT (1738 GMT), set for a weekly gain of
nearly 1 percent. U.S. gold futures         for June delivery
settled up $6, or 0.5 percent, at $1,347.90. 
    Gold is often used as a store of value in times of political
and economic uncertainty.
    "Donald Trump back-pedaled a bit in his morning tweet
yesterday, but the danger is still there that the situation
could escalate with Russia due to a military attack on Syria,"
Quantitative Commodity Research consultant Peter Fertig said.
    "We are back at a cold war, which easily could turn into a
hot war if someone loses their nerve - and in such a situation,
gold is a haven."
    In technicals, first support for gold comes in at $1,315,
near the 100-day moving average. A break of this could see gold
test the 200-day moving average around $1,300.    
    On the higher end of gold's trading range, "we came up on
April 9th to $1,369.40. If we break through that, you could see
a retest of the highs of $1,375; $1,400 will pretty much be in
the cards at that point," said RJO Futures' Josh Graves.
    Global equities recovered from a selloff triggered by
escalating trade tensions.            
    Meanwhile, silver        rose 1.4 percent at $16.67 per
ounce, up nearly 2 percent this week.
    Platinum        was up 0.4 percent at $928.40 per ounce. For
the week, the metal was on course for a 1.7 percent gain, the
biggest rise in about two months.
    Palladium        climbed 2.2 percent at $985.40 per ounce
after hitting a 3-week high of $990.50. It was set for a more
than 9 percent weekly gain, its biggest since January 2017.
    The metal, more than 40 percent of which is produced in
Russia, has bounced strongly this week as sanctions against
Moscow fed into a technically driven rebound after the first
quarter's 10 percent slide.

 (Additional reporting by Swati Verma in Bengaluru
Editing by David Evans and Cynthia Osterman)
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