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Gold buoyed by global tensions, U.S. inflation data

Gold bars are seen at the Austrian Gold and Silver Separating Plant 'Oegussa' in Vienna, Austria, March 18, 2016.

Gold bars are seen at the Austrian Gold and Silver Separating Plant 'Oegussa' in Vienna, Austria, March 18, 2016.

REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger


By Marcy Nicholson and Zandi Shabalala

NEW YORK/JOHANNESBURG, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Gold prices climbed to two-month highs on Friday, rising for the fourth straight day as investors sought refuge amid escalating tensions between North Korea and the United States, while bullion also received support from weak U.S. inflation data.

U.S. President Donald Trump issued a new threat to North Korea on Friday, saying the U.S. military was "locked and loaded" as Pyongyang accused him of driving the Korean Peninsula to the brink of nuclear war and world powers expressed alarm.

Spot gold was up 0.2 percent at $1,287.91 an ounce by 2:03 p.m. EDT (1803 GMT), and set for its biggest weekly gain since mid-April. It earlier hit $1,291.86, its highest level since June 7.

U.S. gold futures settled up 0.3 percent at $1,294.

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"There is a continuation of flight to the safe havens after remarks on Thursday evening from Trump about North Korea," said Quantitative Commodity Research consultant Peter Fertig. "It's not very likely that these tensions will ease in the near future so the outlook seems supportive for gold."

Geopolitical risks can boost demand for assets considered safe-haven investments, such as gold.

"There remains huge uncertainty as to how the current geopolitical crisis will play out and this may support gold prices over the coming weeks," said Capital Economics in a research note.

"On the other hand, if Trump's threats prove to be nothing more than inflammatory rhetoric - as on previous occasions - we would not be surprised to see the gold price retreat as the focus of investors returns to Fed tightening."

Data on Friday showed U.S. consumer prices rose less than expected in July, which was also supportive to gold.

"If you look at the gold price after the CPI (inflation) data, it tells you that the Fed is not going to be in any rush to increase the interest rate this year," said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets. "The level which we are looking at now is $1,300."

The dollar index dipped to a one-week low after the data.

Silver was up 0.2 percent to $17.10 per ounce after hitting $17.24, its highest since June 14, in the previous session. It was on course for a weekly rise of 5.3 percent, the biggest such gain since July 2016.

Platinum climbed 1 percent to $986.20 per ounce after touching $991.50, its highest since March 6. It had gained about 2.8 percent for the week so far.

Palladium was flat at $896.50 per ounce and was on track to end the week about 2 percent higher.

(Additional reporting by Eric Onstad in London, and Nithin Prasad and Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru; editing by Dale Hudson and G Crosse) ((Marcy.Nicholson@thomsonreuters.com, +1-646-223-6043; Reuters Messaging Marcy.Nicholson.ThomsonReuters.com@reuters.net))



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