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Gold rises back above US$1,360 as talk of US rate hikes fades

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Gold rose to a three-week high on Tuesday as European and US shares fell and the US dollar hit its lowest in over a month after last week's soft US growth data dented expectations for a near-term interest rate hike.

[NEW YORK] Gold rose to a three-week high on Tuesday as European and US shares fell and the US dollar hit its lowest in over a month after last week's soft US growth data dented expectations for a near-term interest rate hike.

Platinum group metals continued to shine, with platinum reaching its highest since April 2015 and palladium hitting a 14-month peak.

Spot gold was up 0.9 per cent at US$1,365.09 an ounce by 2:44 pm EDT (1844 GMT), after rising to US$1,367.33, the highest since July 11.

US gold futures for December delivery settled up one per cent at US$1,372.60.

"People are concerned about interest rates in the US not being hiked, about equities overheating - those concerns are getting stronger every day," ING analyst Hamza Khan said.

"There's a lot of upward momentum here."

Gold is highly sensitive to US interest rates, which lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

Equities on Wall Street were weak while European stocks fell to two-week lows, dragged down by banks, while the euro rose above US$1.12 for the first time in more than a month.

Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Robert Kaplan joined other Fed policymakers by urging renewed caution in trying to lift rates again.

"We had that poor US second-quarter GDP number which came out on Friday, and that seems to have given gold a bit of a leg-up," Societe Generale analyst Robin Bhar.

"That basically pushes back the likelihood of the next Fed rate increase, possibly now into 2017." Holdings of the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Shares saw its biggest one-day inflow since late June, on Monday, while inflows of the six silver ETFs followed by Reuters rose to a record high.

Platinum was up 0.9 per cent at US$1,167.40 an ounce, after touching a more than 15-month high of US$1,177.40 earlier in the day.

Whether or not South Africa's National Union of Mineworkers will go on strike at power utility Eskom on Aug 8, and potentially affect platinum supplies, is questionable, said Miguel Perez-Santalla, vice president of Heraeus Metal Management in New York.

"Many of the mining companies had installed significant power back-up systems to avoid the disruptions that had been suffered in the past," he said.

"But now, kicks in the technical readings are all pointing to even possible higher prices."

Palladium was up 0.5 per cent at US$716.35, after hitting a 13-month high of US$722.90 earlier in the session. Silver was up 1.1 per cent at US$20.63.

REUTERS