June 17, 2014 / 12:51 AM / 3 years ago

PRECIOUS-Gold steady near 3-week top on safe haven bids from Iraq tensions

SINGAPORE, June 17 (Reuters) - Gold held steady near a
three-week high on Tuesday as escalating tensions in Iraq
attracted some safe-haven bids, but investors were awaiting a
Federal Reserve meeting this week before taking any big
positions.
    
    FUNDAMENTALS
    * Spot gold was little changed at $1,272.16 an ounce
by 0036 GMT. The metal hit a three-week top of $1,284.85 on
Monday before closing down 0.4 percent on profit taking.
    * President Barack Obama considered options for military
action to support Iraq's besieged government on Monday, and U.S.
and Iranian officials held talks to stabilize the region, which
has been roiled by the advance of Sunni rebels toward Baghdad.
 
    * Gold could also benefit as Russia cut off gas to Ukraine
on Monday in a dispute over unpaid bills that could disrupt
supplies to the rest of Europe and set back hopes for peace
between the former Soviet neighbours. 
    * Prices however could be pressured by outflows from the top
gold fund, SPDR Gold Trust, which saw holdings fall 4.20
tonnes to 782.88 tonnes on Monday. 
    * The Fed's two-day policy meeting begins today with a
statement expected on Wednesday. Markets are on the watch for
any signals on when the U.S. central bank might begin raising
interest rates. 
    * The London Metal Exchange, competing to offer a
replacement for the London silver benchmark, said it could offer
three alternatives including an enhanced telephone-based process
and an option for open-outcry price setting. 
    * Platinum and palladium ticked higher as
markets awaited an end to a five-month long strike at top
producer South Africa.
    * For the top stories on metals and other news, click
, or 
    
    MARKET NEWS
    * Asian shares struck a cautious tone on Tuesday as the
double-whammy of a deepening conflict in Iraq and a gas dispute
between Ukraine and Russia sapped investors' appetite for risk.
 
    
    DATA/EVENTS (GMT)
    0800 Italy Trade data April 
    0900 Germany ZEW economic sentiment June 
    0900 Euro zone Labour costs Q1 
    1230 U.S. Housing starts May 
    1230 U.S. Building permits May 
    1230 U.S. Consumer prices May

    PRICES AT 0036 GMT    
 Metal            Last     Change  Pct chg
                                          
 Spot gold        1272.16    0.87     0.07
 Spot silver        19.65    0.05     0.26
 Spot platinum    1434.99    5.49     0.38
 Spot palladium    811.55    3.05     0.38
 Comex gold        1272.6    -2.7    -0.21
 Comex silver       19.67  -0.045    -0.23
 Euro              1.3583                 
 DXY               80.413                 
                                          
 COMEX gold and silver contracts show the
 most active months
 
 (Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Michael Perry)

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