December 26, 2017 / 2:18 PM / 24 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold rises on dollar weakness, palladium hits 17-yr peak

    * Speculators raise net longs in gold in the week to Dec. 19
    * Spot gold's close above 200 DMA on Friday seen positive
    * Palladium hits highest since February 2001

 (Updates prices, adds market comment throughout)
    By Chris Prentice and Sethuraman N R
    NEW YORK/BENGALURU, Dec 26 (Reuters) - Gold prices edged up
on Tuesday to a more than three-week high on support from a
weaker dollar and chart signals, as palladium touched the
highest level since February 2001 on supply worries.
    Precious metals markets reopened after being closed on
Monday for the Christmas holiday.             
    Investors were scooping up commodities as the main equity
gauges on Wall Street were under pressure.      Many markets
around the world, including in parts of Europe and Asia, were
shut on Tuesday.
    Spot gold        was up 0.69 percent at $1,283.6801 per
ounce by 1:52 p.m. EST (1852 GMT) after reaching its highest
level since Dec. 1 at $1,283.72.
    U.S. gold futures         for February delivery settled up
$8.70, or 0.68 percent, at $1,287.50 per ounce. Prices are on
track for a second straight annual gain.
    Worries persisted over geopolitical risks and U.S. dollar
weakness bolstered bullion's appeal. The dollar index       
retreated, making greenback-traded commodities less expensive to
holders of other currencies.
    The United States on Tuesday announced sanctions on two
North Korean officials for their roles in developing the
country's ballistic missiles. Tensions have been rising over the
programs, which the Asian nation is pursuing in defiance of
years of U.N. Security Council resolutions.             
    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told U.S. Secretary
of State Rex Tillerson that "Washington's aggressive rhetoric"
had heightened tension on the Korean peninsula and was
unacceptable.             
    Last week, gold gained for a second straight week and closed
above its 200-day moving average, a key technical indicator.
    "Because gold is somewhat under-owned, traders are taking a
second look to see if we can get over $1,300 area," said George
Gero, managing director of RBC Wealth Management in New York,
noting support from the dollar, safe-haven buying and chart
signals.
    Speculators have built up a bullish bet in bullion and
brought a net long stance in silver to a record, U.S. government
data showed on Friday.             
    Spot palladium        was up 1.08 pct at $1,047.70 per ounce
after rising as high as $1,051.30. Strong demand from
autocatalyst makers reinforced the prospect of market shortages.
    Analysts expect that about 80 percent of global palladium
demand will come from autocatalysts for gasoline-powered cars,
which many consumers now prefer over diesel-fueled vehicles. 
    "There’s some worries for supplies," Gero said.
    Spot silver        was up 1.11 percent at $16.541 per ounce
after touching $16.551, its highest level in over three weeks.
Spot platinum        edged up 0.38 percent to $917.50.

 (Reporting by Chris Prentice; Editing by Matthew Lewis)
  
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