PRECIOUS-Gold hits highest in over a month on weaker dollar, Brexit concerns

Last Updated: Tue, Jan 10, 2017 12:20 hrs

* Brexit worries stoke safe-haven demand for gold * SPDR Gold holdings down about 15 pct since U.S. elections * Platinum, palladium off highs hit Monday (Adds comment, updates prices) By Swati Verma BENGALURU, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Gold rose to its highest in over one a month on Tuesday, buoyed by a weaker U.S. dollar and as fears that Britain will not have a clean break with the European Union stoked safe-haven buying. Spot gold was up half a percent at $1,187.01 an ounce by 0620 GMT, after reaching its highest since Dec. 5 at $1,187.61 earlier in the session. U.S. gold futures climbed 0.2 percent to $1,187.20 per ounce. "The comments on the UK around Brexit that impacted the pound saw some safe-haven buying," said ANZ analyst Daniel Hynes. The pound slid on Tuesday after weekend comments from British Prime Minister Theresa May sparked talk that Britain would drastically rework trade relations with the EU after Brexit. Hynes added that gold was also getting support from strong physical buying in China ahead of the Lunar New Year later this month, although he said the longer term price outlook would likely be tepid. "The precious metal has got plenty of headwinds in the medium-term. We are not expecting to see any particular upside to the rally we have seen in the past weeks. The outlook for rate hikes in the U.S. will be the biggest driver of gold prices in 2017," Hynes added. Gold is highly sensitive to rising U.S. interest rates, which increase the opportunity cost of holding the non-yielding asset while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced. The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, was down 0.3 percent at 101.66 on Tuesday. "With volumes currently soft and market positioning lightened, gold should continue to push higher and test a move back above $1,200 over the short term," said MKS PAMP Group trader Sam Laughlin. Focus is turning towards a news conference on Wednesday when U.S. President-elect Donald Trump may give more details on policies that could be implemented after he takes office on Jan. 20. "As Trump's inauguration date nears, we suspect gold investors will monitor political developments more closely. Any significant ratcheting higher in geopolitical tensions could help trigger safe-haven bullion demand," HSBC analyst James Steel wrote in a note. Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 1.06 percent to 805.00 tonnes on Monday. The holdings have dropped about 15 percent since the November U.S. Presidential elections. Silver was up 0.5 percent at $16.64 an ounce and platinum was 0.4-percent higher at $977.90. Platinum rose to a two-month high of $981.90 an ounce in the last session. Palladium was set to gain for the sixth straight session, up 0.1 percent at $759 an ounce after rising to its highest in more than a month on Monday. (Additional reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph Radford)



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