NEW YORK (Reuters) - Spot gold and platinum prices headed for their weakest quarter since year-end 2016 as investors seeking safe havens turned to U.S. Treasuries instead of bullion and demand for metals used in automobiles fell.
Industrial demand for silver has kept prices from plunging to the degree of its counterparts, analysts said on Friday
* Spot gold prices were set to end the quarter down 5.4 percent, while spot platinum prices declined more than 8.1 percent during the quarter. Silver was set to close the second quarter down 1.6 percent.
* Gold is traditionally seen as a safe store of value during times of geopolitical uncertainty. But recent global trade war jitters have investors purchasing higher-yielding U.S. Treasuries and the dollar as safe haven investments instead of bullion, traders said.
* Expectation of two additional U.S. interest rate increases continue to weigh on all precious metals.
* The first half of 2018 should be the weakest for the U.S. auto industry since 2014. Tariffs could hit sales growth, which could pressure the two autocatalyst metals, platinum and palladium.
* Spot silver prices have not dropped as dramatically because of industrial demand. “As long as the economy stays healthy there will be a strong industrial demand for silver,” said Jonathan Sosnay, managing director of SchiffGold in New York
Editing by Richard Chang and Steve Orlofsky