April 12, 2018 / 3:48 AM / 5 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold slips from 11-week high on technical selling

    * Gold down after four consecutive session of gains
    * Syria crisis, U.S.-China trade spat underpin gold
    * Silver off near 2-month highs

 (Updates prices, adds analyst comment)
    By Swati Verma
    BENGALURU, April 12 (Reuters) - Gold prices edged down on
Thursday after hitting an 11-week high in the previous session
on technical selling and profit-taking, although concerns about
possible U.S. military action against Syria underpinned the
bullion.
    Spot gold        was down 0.2 percent at $1,350.59 an ounce
as of 0704 GMT after four straight sessions of gains. U.S. gold
futures         fell 0.4 percent to $1,354.10 an ounce.
    The bullion touched $1,365.23 an ounce in the previous
session, its highest since Jan. 25, before trimming gains on
expectations of a faster pace of U.S. rate hikes following the
release of minutes of the Federal Reserve's last policy meeting.
            
    "Gold prices on Wednesday were near the technical resistance
level and, hence, we saw a sell-off from that point," said
Hareesh V, head of commodity research, Geojit Financial
Services.
    "Prices for the last several months are trying to break the
$1,370 level, so there was some profit-taking as prices
consolidated in the strong resistance region," he said, adding
that there was room for an upside as long as geopolitical
tensions persist.
    Gold is often used as a store of value during times of
financial or political uncertainty.
    "While we expect volatility to remain high, gold will stay
supported so as long as U.S. military option remains on the
table, gold will continue bid," said Stephen Innes, head of
trading in Asia-Pacific for OANDA in Singapore.
    "But we could see prices rocket higher if both the United
States and Israel get drawn into the fracas siding with Saudi
Arabia in Riyadh escalations with Tehran. A test of $1,400+
would be on the cards immediately."
    U.S. President Donald Trump warned Russia on Wednesday of
imminent military action in Syria over a suspected poison gas
attack, declaring that missiles "will be coming" and lambasting
Moscow for standing by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
            
    Also underpinning bullion were lingering worries about a
trade war between China and the United States.
    On Thursday, China's commerce ministry said that China will
not hesitate to fight back if the United States escalates its
trade spat with Beijing, asserting that Chinese President Xi
Jinping's pledge to cut import tariffs is not a concession to
Washington.             
    Among other precious metals, silver        was up 0.2
percent at $16.66 an ounce, after hitting a near two-month high
of $16.87 in the previous session.
    Platinum        gained 0.2 percent to $928.20 per ounce and
palladium        fell 0.6 percent to $959 per ounce.
    Palladium, however, has surged over 6 percent this week on
the back of concerns that supply from top producer Russia could
be hurt by sanctions imposed by the United States.             

 (Reporting by Swati Verma in Bengaluru; editing by Sunil Nair
and Subhranshu Sahu)
  
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