PRECIOUS-Gold hits 5-month high on rising geopolitical tensions

April 17 Gold hit a five-month high on Monday as
the dollar weakened with investors taking refuge in safe-haven
assets in the wake of rising geopolitical tensions over North
Korea.
    Spot gold        was up 0.5 percent at $1,291 per ounce as
of 0239 GMT, after hitting its highest since early November at
$1,295.42. 
    Last week, the metal rose 2.5 percent in its biggest weekly
gain since June last year. 
    U.S. gold futures         were up 0.4 percent at $1,293.30
on Monday.
    North Korea on Sunday made what was believed to be a failed
missile test launch, increasing geopolitical risks. Regional
tensions have risen over the past weeks as U.S. President Donald
Trump has taken a tough rhetorical line with Pyongyang.
            
    "Gold will likely retain a measure of strength heading into
the French elections in about one week's time, while ongoing
tensions in North Korea should also keep the markets rather
nervous," said INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir.
    With the first round of France's presidential election on
April 23, an unpredictable outcome is pushing some pollsters to
calculate the most extreme runoff scenarios after Trump's
surprising U.S. presidential win in November and Britain's
unexpected exit from the European Union in July.             
    The dollar dipped to a five-month low against the yen early
on Monday.       
    The bullish sentiment in gold was underscored by data 
showing speculators increased their net long positions for a
fourth straight week to April 11.             
    New York-listed SPDR Gold Shares ETF      , the world's
biggest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose
more than six tonnes on Thursday, the biggest one-day inflow in
a month.
    Uncertainties over Trump's policy towards North Korea have
been growing since the U.S. Navy fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at a
Syrian airfield on April 6.
    Adding to these concerns, the U.S. military last week
dropped the largest non-nuclear device it has ever used in
combat on a network of caves and tunnels used by Islamic State
in eastern Afghanistan.             
    "Gold is trading with an upward bias with the $1,300 level
just in sight... We expect any dips in prices to be eagerly
sought by traders," said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst
at OANDA.
    Spot gold is expected to rise to $1,303 per ounce as it has
broken above a resistance at $1,282, according to Reuters
technical analyst Wang Tao.             
    Spot silver        was up 0.4 percent at $18.59 after
touching a five-month high of $18.649.
    Platinum        rose 0.5 percent to $975.80, while palladium
       dropped 0.2 percent to $793.40.

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