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Gold climbs on haven demand as Greece risks exit from eurozone

[LONDON] Gold rose with silver as Greece shut banks and imposed capital controls, boosting demand for haven assets amid concern that the country's euro membership is in jeopardy.

Futures for August delivery advanced 0.4 per cent to US$1,177.60 an ounce as of 8:01 am in New York. Gains were limited as the dollar strengthened to a four-week high against the euro.

"Gold received some support due to the Greek saga, but as the US dollar also gained, prices were capped," Georgette Boele, a strategist at ABN Amro Bank NV in Amsterdam, said by e- mail on Monday.

"In the case of Greek default and exit, we'll probably get similar market reactions, with no aggressive spike in gold."

Optimism that Greece and its creditors would reach a deal, which hurt bullion prices last week, vanished after midnight Friday as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras surprised counterparts by calling for a July 5 referendum on austerity measures demanded by creditors.

Gold for immediate delivery added 0.2 per cent to US$1,177.26, according to Bloomberg generic pricing. The metal priced in euros reached the highest in almost four weeks.

Federal Reserve Gold futures slipped 0.5 per cent this quarter as traders focus on when the Federal Reserve's first interest-rate increase since 2006 will happen. For 2015, prices are down 0.6 per cent.

"We have seen some safe-haven demand for gold, but we expect to see more as the Greek crisis unfolds," John Meyer, a mining analyst at SP Angel in London, said by phone. "Gold hasn't priced in a Greek default, and it could move substantially higher if that occurs."

Silver for September delivery increased 0.3 per cent to $15.81 an ounce. It's down 4.8 per cent this quarter, cutting this year's gain to 1.3 per cent.

Platinum for October fell 0.7 per cent to US$1,080.70 an ounce. Prices slid 5.9 per cent this quarter and 11 per cent this year.

Palladium for September fell 0.7 per cent to US$674.05 an ounce, taking its loss since the end of March to 8.3 per cent. The metal slumped 16 per cent this year, heading for the first decline since 2011.