August 18, 2014 / 10:31 AM / 3 years ago

PRECIOUS-Gold falls as Ukraine tensions ease, equities rally

* Russia says humanitarian convoy issues resolved

* Dollar hike, equities gains, oil losses pressure gold

* Eyes on global central bankers meeting later in week

* Coming up: U.S. consumer price data Tuesday (Adds NEW YORK to dateline, second byline, updates market activities)

By Frank Tang and Clara Denina

NEW YORK/LONDON, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Gold fell on Monday as the threat of an escalation of tensions in Ukraine appeared to wane for now, and a rally in global equity markets and strength in the dollar sent bullion prices below $1,300 an ounce.

Russia said all issues related to its humanitarian convoy to Ukraine had been resolved but said no progress has been made toward a ceasefire or political solution to the fighting in the east of the country after talks between Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine on Sunday.

Tensions, however, remained high after Ukraine accused pro-Russian rebels on Monday of hitting a refugee convoy of buses with rocket fire near the eastern city of Luhansk, but the separatists denied responsibility.

Analysts said gold’s failure to sustain safe-haven rallies could limit its upside.

“There is not really any proper pricing in of a risk premium ... because the ultimate safe haven will turn out to be the dollar if things do escalate further in Ukraine, Iraq or Israel ... and not necessarily gold,” Mitsubishi analyst Jonathan Butler said.

Spot gold fell 0.4 percent to $1,299.34 by 2:17 p.m. EDT (1817 GMT), while U.S. COMEX gold futures for December delivery settled down $6.90 an ounce at $1,299.30.

The dollar gained 0.2 percent against a basket of currencies after a sixth straight weekly loss. Gold often moves in the opposite direction to the U.S. currency.

A sharp drop in Brent crude oil prices also pressured gold.

The market was awaiting the annual meeting of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on Thursday, including Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen’s speech on Friday, which could give clues about the timing of any interest rate increases.

Tensions in Ukraine and the Middle East have largely contributed to gold’s near 8 percent gain this year, igniting bouts of demand when investors turned to assets perceived as an insurance against risk. However, any impetus these events provided has not lasted long, analysts said.

Gold also continued to miss support from physical demand in major buyers China and India.

Persistently soft buying from Asia has stoked worries that purchases will fail to pick up in the second half of the year, when they are normally stronger, bullion traders and dealers said.

Among other precious metals, silver edged up 0.3 percent to $19.64 an ounce and platinum fell 0.9 percent to $1,439.50 an ounce.

Palladium rose to a fresh 13-year high of $900.00 an ounce earlier on fears over supply from top producer Russia and strong demand prospects. The autocatalyst metal later inched down 6 cents to $890.44 as investors took profits. (Additional reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Singapore; Editing by David Clarke, Dale Hudson and James Dalgleish)

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