August 7, 2014 / 3:22 AM / 6 years ago

PRECIOUS-Gold well bid above $1,300 as Ukraine boosts safe-haven appeal

* Gold retains 1.4 pct jump overnight
    * Moscow orders retaliation to Western sanctions
    * Coming up: ECB announces interest rate decision at 1145
GMT

 (Updates prices)
    By A. Ananthalakshmi
    SINGAPORE, Aug 7 (Reuters) - Gold held on to overnight gains
above $1,300 on Thursday, trading near its highest in more than
a week as fears of Russian military action against Ukraine and
retaliation by Moscow over Western sanctions burnished gold's
appeal as a safe haven. 
    Russia will ban all imports of food from the United States
and all fruit and vegetables from Europe, the state news agency
reported on Wednesday, even as NATO said Russia had massed
around 20,000 combat-ready troops on Ukraine's border.
 
    The troop build-up sapped risk appetite, sending equities
lower and global bond prices higher.    
    "We think that for gold prices to really move higher, the
complex will need to see current political tensions translate
into economic dislocations that could conceivably impact the
global economy," said INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir. 
    "Judging the recent Russian actions, we very well may be
heading towards that direction at a much more rapid clip than
was the case several weeks ago."
    Spot gold was little changed at $1,306.20 an ounce by
0624 GMT, after gaining 1.4 percent on Wednesday. 
    The metal hit $1,309.60 in the previous session - its
highest since July 29. U.S. gold was also steady at
$1,307.50 after rising 1.8 percent in the previous session. 
    Gold is seen as an alternative investment to riskier assets
such as equities, especially during times of economic and
geopolitical uncertainties. It has gained more than 8 percent
this year on geopolitical tensions.
    Investor sentiment in bullion still seemed fragile, however,
on persistent worries over possible tightening of monetary
policy in the United States. 
    SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed
exchange-traded fund, saw its holdings fall 2.4 tonnes to 797.65
tonnes on Wednesday. 
    Markets were eyeing data due on Thursday on U.S. jobless
claims to gauge the strength of the world's largest economy.
They were also awaiting a statement by the European Central Bank
regarding its monetary policy.
    In the physical markets, buying slowed on Thursday after
prices rose above $1,300 an ounce. Premiums in top buyer China
dropped to about $1 an ounce from $2-$3 in the previous session.
    Demand had already been sluggish due to the seasonally quiet
summer period and on expectations of a further drop in prices.
 
 
    PRICES AT 0624 GMT     
 Metal            Last     Change   Pct chg
                                    
 Spot gold         1306.2     0.21     0.02
 Spot silver        20.02     0.01     0.05
 Spot platinum     1466.3     12.3     0.85
 Spot palladium       854      6.7     0.79
 Comex gold        1307.5     -0.7    -0.05
 Comex silver       20.06    0.036     0.18
 Euro              1.3373                  
 DXY               81.504                  
                                    
 COMEX gold and silver contracts show the
 most active months
 
 (Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Tom Hogue)
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