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Gold slips as dollar rises, but geopolitical worries support

A customer buys Iranian gold coins at a currency exchange office in Tehran.

A customer buys Iranian gold coins at a currency exchange office in Tehran.

Reuters/Raheb Homavandi

19 April 2017

Gold slips as dollar rises, but geopolitical worries support

By Zandi Shabalala

LONDON, April 19 (Reuters) - Gold edged lower on Wednesday as the dollar gained, but escalating tensions over North Korea and upcoming French and UK elections boosted investor demand in the safe-haven asset.

Spot gold  was down 0.64 percent at $1,281.96 per ounce as of 0932 GMT, but holding near a November high of $1,295.42 touched on Monday.

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U.S. gold futures  were 0.8 percent lower at $1,283.90.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said Washington would work with its allies and China to put economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea but added America would defeat any attack with an "overwhelming response."            

"Today's move is just a bit of a pause because we are still seeing pretty decent investor interest in gold," said ETF Securities analyst Martin Arnold.

"Investors are still using gold for insurance and defensive positioning because there are concerns over equity valuations and politics."

In France, investors remained nervous ahead of the first round of the country's presidential election on Sunday, as a closely-watched poll showed the first round of voting is too close to call, while pegging centrist Emmanuel Macron as the favourite to win overall.            

British Prime Minister Theresa May's call for a snap general election added to a lengthening list of uncertainties for investors already on edge over geopolitical tensions.

"Political and geopolitical issues are for sure supportive elements at the moment," said Andrea Aratoli, head of trading at Argor-Heraeus.

Wing Fung Financial Group's head of research Mark To said he expected gold prices to hover near $1,280, trading in a range between $1,270-$1,310.    

MKS PAMP Group trader Sam Laughlin said gold should find support around $1,280 and $1,276, and was well positioned to test $1,300 as geopolitical concerns underpin its safe-haven status.

Spot silver dropped 0.6 percent to $18.14 per ounce.

Platinum rose 0.4 percent to $976.90, while palladium was down 0.1 percent at $773.65 after touching a more than four-week low of $769.80 on Tuesday.

(Additional reporting By Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru and Jan Harvey in London; Editing by Mark Potter)

© Reuters News 2017

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