April 13, 2018 / 3:42 AM / in 6 months

PRECIOUS-Gold up on Syria concerns, set for second straight weekly gain

    * SPDR Gold holdings highest in 10 months
    * Spot gold to rise to $1,348- technicals
    * Palladium set for biggest weekly rise since Oct

 (Updates prices, adds comments and details)
    By Swati Verma
    BENGALURU, April 13 (Reuters) - Gold prices rose on Friday
and were set to post a small gain for a second week running,
supported by tensions over Syria.
    Spot gold        was up 0.1 percent at $1,336.45 an ounce as
of 0648 GMT, and was set for a weekly gain of 0.3 percent. U.S.
gold futures         eased 0.2 percent to $1,339.50 an ounce.
    Spot gold is expected to rise to $1,348 per ounce, as it has
found a support at $1,334, said Reuters' technical analyst Wang
Tao.         
    Prices are gaining on tensions over Syria, that has stoked
geopolitical concerns, said Richard Xu, a fund manager at HuaAn
Gold, China's biggest gold exchange-traded fund.
    President Donald Trump and his national security aides on
Thursday discussed U.S. 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 on Syria on Thursday, by tweeting that an attack on Syria
"could be very soon or not so soon at all."              
    Global stocks recovered and the dollar firmed after Trump's
comments, which weighed on the dollar-denominated bullion.
    Gold prices dropped 1.3 percent on Thursday, the biggest
single-day percentage fall since March 28. Prices have fallen
over $25 an ounce since climbing to an 11-week high of $1,365.23
an ounce on Wednesday.
    Easing concerns over the trade war between China and the
United States also weighed on gold prices in the previous
session.
    "Going forward I see downside risk for gold prices in
general, the ebbing trade war concerns as well as improvement in
growth-related news should bring safe-haven demand lower into
the year ahead," said OCBC analyst Barnabas Gan.
    U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that the trade
"negotiations" between Washington and Beijing were going
well.             
    Meanwhile, holdings of SPDR Gold Trust      , the world's
largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.69 percent to
865.89 tonnes on Thursday.          
    "It has to do with worries about the trade war and the
geo-political concerns in the Middle-East," Xu said.
    Holdings rose to their highest since June 2017 and were up
about 3.5 percent so far this year, suggesting an increase in
investor appetite for the metal, seen as a safe investment
during times of financial and political uncertainties.
    "Any further increase in gold ETF holdings could suggest
that risk aversion is still on the table," Gan from OCBC said.
    In other precious metals, spot silver        rose 0.3
percent to $16.48 per ounce and up nearly 1 percent so far this
week.
    Platinum        was 0.1 percent higher at $925.74 an ounce.
For the week, the metal was set for an over 1 percent rise, the
most in about two months.
    Palladium        climbed 0.6 percent at $969.45 an ounce and
was on track for an over 7 percent rise this week, its best
since atleast October 2017.

 (Reporting by Swati Verma in Bengaluru; editing by Richard
Pullin and Sunil Nair)
  
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