April 20, 2018 / 3:15 AM / 7 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold slips as U.S. rate rise hopes, easing global tensions weigh

    * Gold long positions being liquidated - analyst
    * Silver off 2-1/2-month highs hit in previous session
    * Platinum off three-week highs hit in prior session

 (Updates prices)
    By Sethuraman N R
    BENGALURU, April 20 (Reuters) - Gold prices inched lower on
Friday and were headed for the first weekly decline in three
weeks as expectations of higher U.S. interest rates and easing
political tensions on the Korean Peninsula and Syria weighed on
demand for the safe-haven metal.
    Spot gold        was down 0.1 percent at $1,344.10 an ounce
at 0650 GMT, while U.S. gold futures         fell 0.2 percent to
$1,346.30 per ounce. Spot gold fell 0.2 percent on the week.
    "We don't see much fresh buying interest and there is some
profit taking. The physical demand is also very weak. The market
is not able break above $1,355, which is acting as a good
resistance and causing some long liquidations," said Peter Fung,
head of dealing at Wing Fung Precious Metals in Hong Kong.
    "Prices have been stuck in the $1,320-$1,360 range for a
good time ... The upside is also limited due to the fear of
interest rates."
    Market jitters over Western missile strikes in Syria that
provided some support to gold earlier in the week eased, while
the geopolitical outlook on the Korean Peninsula brightened as
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he hoped a summit
with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would be successful.
            
    Investors were also relieved that no new U.S. demands on
trade came out of a summit between Japanese Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe and Trump.             
    "The uncertainty over geopolitical risk and trade war
tension has moved to the back burner this week and has made for
a less compelling argument in the gold market," said Stephen
Innes, APAC trading head at OANDA.
    "Traders are rehashing old topics amidst reasons to stay
long into the weekend, but drawing few if any conclusions."
    Also, the relatively optimistic backdrop in the United
States should support the Federal Reserve in raising interest
rates at least twice more this year, traders and analysts have
said.             
    Meanwhile, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney on Thursday
acknowledged the recent mixed domestic economic readings, which
reinforced the view the BOE would raise rates gradual over the
next few years.             
    Among other precious metals, spot silver        was down 0.2
percent at $17.18, after hitting over 2-1/2-month high at $17.35
in the previous session.
    Platinum        rose 0.2 percent to $934.40. It touched an
over three-week high at $953.50 in the previous session.
    Palladium        slipped 0.2 percent to $1,023.28. It hit
1-1/2-month high of $1,057.20 on Thursday.

 (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by
Amrutha Gayathri
Editing by Joseph Radford and Amrutha Gayathri)
  
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