June 1, 2020 / 3:45 AM / a month ago

PRECIOUS-Gold climbs as U.S. riots spark safe-haven rush

* Silver jumps over 2% to three-month high

* SPDR Gold Trust holdings at fresh 7-year peak on Friday

* Specs cut gold bullish positions in week to May 26 - CFTC

* For an interactive graphic tracking the global coronavirus spread, open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser (Adds comments, updates prices)

By Harshith Aranya

June 1 (Reuters) - Gold rose on Monday as riots in major U.S. cities rattled investors already reeling from strained Sino-U.S. ties and boosted demand for the safe-haven metal, with a weaker dollar lending further support.

Spot gold gained 0.8% to $1,739.59 per ounce by 0802 GMT, having surged 1% earlier. U.S. gold futures inched up 0.1% to $1,752.50.

The dollar index fell 0.5% against its rivals.

“The protests are obviously not a positive sign given the fragility of the U.S. economy at the moment, and the need to get out from under lockdown,” said Michael McCarthy, chief strategist at CMC Markets.

Protesters have flooded the streets in the United States over the death of George Floyd in police custody.

The closely packed crowds and demonstrators not wearing masks have sparked fears of a resurgence of COVID-19, which has killed more than 101,000 Americans.

Meanwhile, in Asia, China’s state media and the Hong Kong government lashed out on Sunday at U.S. President Donald Trump’s pledge to end Hong Kong’s special status if Beijing imposes new national security laws on the city.

Geopolitical tensions are rising from the blame game between the West and China, and as the dispute in Hong Kong intensifies, Fitch Solutions said in a note.

This will “catalyse gold bulls throughout 2020 at least”, as investors seek security in safe-haven assets, it added.

Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.3% to 1,123.14 tonnes on Friday, a fresh seven-year high.

Elsewhere, silver rose 2.4% to $18.26 per ounce, its highest since Feb. 25.

Speculators cut their bullish positions in COMEX gold and increased them in silver contracts in the week to May 26, data showed on Friday.

Palladium rose 1.1% to $1,965.39 per ounce, and platinum ticked up 0.1% to $838.82. (Reporting by Harshith Aranya and Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Arun Koyyur)

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