April 20, 2017 / 4:49 AM / 8 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold steady on safe-haven demand amid N.Korea, France concerns

    * Geopolitical worries continue to drive safe-haven demand
    * Gold expected to hit $1,300 per ounce by end of week
    * SPDR Gold holdings see best one-day gains since Sept. 2016

 (Updates prices)
    By Sethuraman N R
    April 20 (Reuters) - Gold prices held firm on Thursday after
falling as much as 1 percent the previous day, with tensions
surrounding North Korea and the upcoming French presidential
election driving safe-haven demand.
    Spot gold        was mostly unchanged at $1,278.74 per ounce
at 0756 GMT. The metal fell 0.8 percent on Wednesday in its
worst one-day drop in over a month.
   "Sentiment overall is that everybody is looking for $1,300 at
least by the end of the week. Sentiment around geopolitical
issues is really playing on people's minds," said Spencer
Campbell, general manager with Kaloti Precious Metals in
   "We are seeing a lot more physical purchasing, with shops
seeing a 100-percent increase in buying from the retail sector,"
said Campbell.
   "This clearly shows the pull back is an opportunity (to buy
gold before it climbs above $1,300)."
    Analysts and traders said gold would be supported by
simmering geopolitical tensions around North Korea and
nervousness ahead of the first round of France's presidential
    "With this weekend's French Presidential vote event risk, it
is hard to see gold forming a meaningful correction to the
downside before next week at the earliest," said Jeffrey Halley,
senior market analyst at OANDA.
    "Safe-haven buying should continue to support any dips."
    Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust      , the world's largest
gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 1.39 percent on
Wednesday, their biggest one day gain since early September
2016. Holdings climbed nearly 12 tonnes from Tuesday to 860.76
    Meanwhile, spot silver        gained 0.4 percent to $18.15
an ounce.
    Platinum        was 0.2 percent higher at $964.74, while
palladium        rose about 1 percent at $782.97.

 (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Joseph
Radford and Sunil Nair)

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