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Gold hovers near 3-month highs; political uncertainty provides support

(Reuters) - Gold held near 3-month highs on Thursday as political risks from elections in Europe and worries over U.S. President Donald Trump’s policies buoyed safe haven demand for the bullion.

A woman tries on a gold bracelet at a jewellery showroom in the eastern Indian city of Siliguri November 4, 2009. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri/File Photo

Spot gold dipped 0.1 percent to $1,240 per ounce at 0708 GMT. On Wednesday, the metal touched its highest since Nov. 11 at $1,244.67.

U.S. gold futures rose 0.2 percent to $1,241.30 an ounce.

“Gold prices will be a little bit rangebound with some upside bias for the next few weeks or so,” said OCBC analyst Barnabas Gan.”

“The risk factors have not really changed so far - we’re talking about Donald Trump, we’re talking about the political situation in Europe and because of all these factors, we do expect market watchers to stay cautious into the months ahead to gauge how the global economy is going to perform.”

Spot gold may edge up to $1,249 per ounce, as it has cleared a resistance at $1,237, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

Investors are concerned about the strong showing in the French presidential race of far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, who has promised to take France out of the euro zone and to hold a referendum on European Union membership.

Controversy over U.S. President Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries has recently boosted gold as a safe-haven asset.

“Geo-political risks continue to underpin gold in the face of the prospect of higher U.S. interest rates this year,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.

“Increasing hostilities in the Ukraine, Greek bailouts, French elections, Iran-U.S. sabre-rattling have all combined to see investors flee to safe havens, of which gold is the main beneficiary.”

The Fed raised rates for only the second time since the financial crisis in December, and most Fed policymakers agree that three more rate hikes this year would be appropriate.

Investors’ bullish stance on gold is underpinned by an increase in net longs by speculators and a rise in holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund.

SPDR holdings rose 0.68 percent to 832.58 tonnes on Wednesday from Tuesday, rising for a sixth straight session. [GOL/ETF]

“The (gold) rally appears intact, but we think a near-term bout of profit-taking may materialize at any time, especially if there is a slowdown in ETF accumulation demand or reduced long participation on the Comex,” HSBC analyst James Steel said.

Spot silver fell 0.3 percent to $17.72 an ounce after hitting its best since Nov. 11 at $17.86 in the previous session.

Platinum edged up 0.2 percent at $1,014.40, after touching its best since Nov. 9 at $1,019.20 on Wednesday.

Palladium rose 0.4 percent at $771.

Reporting By Nallur Sethuraman and Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Pullin and Biju Dwarakanath