Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Bengaluru — Gold prices held steady after touching their highest in more than two months on Friday and were on track for a weekly gain, buoyed as rising tension between the US and North Korea triggered safe-haven buying.

"Much of the rally (in gold) is because of the increased safe-haven demand," said OCBC Bank analyst Barnabas Gan.

Trump warned North Korea again on Thursday not to strike Guam or US allies, saying his earlier threat to unleash "fire and fury" on Pyongyang if it launched an attack may not have been tough enough.

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

Spot gold was nearly flat at $1,285.76 an ounce at 4.47am GMT and was set for a weekly gain of more than 2%. Earlier in the session, it marked its highest since June 8 at $1,288.92/oz. US gold futures for December delivery rose 0.2 percent to $1,291.80 per ounce.

"Traders should closely watch global equities today, with further falls and risk aversion likely pumping more safe-haven flows into precious metals," said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at Oanda.

Asian equity markets extended a global slide on Friday, sending investors fleeing to less risky assets such the yen, the Swiss franc and US Treasuries.

The market also awaited US consumer inflation data on Friday that would offer more clues about the pace of the US Federal Reserve’s monetary tightening.

"I think with gold prices, we still have to be cautious. A lot of it (the rally) is due to the risk premium," said Gan.

"A quick unwinding of prices to below $1,250/oz is very possible, especially if the tensions ease quickly and if global growth continues performing the way it is, with most incoming economic data suggesting a rosy economic outlook."

Meanwhile, gold demand in India remained sluggish this week as local prices jumped to their highest level in nearly three months and a rally in global prices damped fresh buying elsewhere in Asia.

Silver was nearly flat at $17.08/oz after hitting $17.24, its highest since June 14 in the previous session. It was on course for a more than 5% weekly rise, its highest such gain since July 2016.

Platinum climbed 0.2% to $978/oz after touching $984.60 during the session, its highest since April 18. It was up about 2% for the week so far.

Palladium climbed 0.2% to $898.30/oz and was on track to end the week 2.4% higher.

Reuters

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