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Gold gains amid North Korea concerns, but heads for 2nd weekly decline

[BENGALURU] Gold rebounded from a four-week low on Friday as the latest twist in tensions between the United States and North Korea prompted investors to seek out the safe-haven asset.

The metal was, however, headed for a second weekly decline.

Spot gold was up 0.4 per cent at US$1,296.58 an ounce, as of 0408 GMT. In the previous session, it marked its lowest since Aug 25 at US$1287.61.

US gold futures for December delivery climbed 0.4 per cent to US$1,299.80 an ounce.

US President Donald Trump ordered new sanctions against North Korea on Thursday and Pyongyang's leader defiantly vowed to persist with its nuclear and missile programmes and said it would consider measures against the United States.

On Friday, North Korea's Kim Jong Un said in a rare statement the country will consider the "highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history" against the US in response to Trump's threat to "totally destroy" the North.

"Recent fiery rhetoric between the North Koreans and President Trump has led to a mild rebound in the gold price, but not enough to breach the important US$1,300/oz mark," said John Sharma, economist at National Australia Bank.

"It appears there is some concern among market participants about these comments, but they are discounted somewhat given past examples of bluster between these protagonists," Mr Sharma said.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said on Friday he believes the North could consider a hydrogen bomb test on the Pacific Ocean of an unprecedented scale.

The US dollar and Asian stocks fell on Friday against the backdrop of these tensions while the Japanese yen and Swiss franc gained on the possibility of North Korea conducting another nuclear test.

"The dollar yen's pullback has supported gold on this move higher," a Hong-Kong based trader said.

Geopolitical risks can boost demand for safe-haven assets such as gold and the Japanese yen.

Spot gold may end its current weak bounce around a resistance at US$1,299 per ounce and then fall towards a support at US$1,281, said Reuters technicals analyst Wang Tao.

Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.73 per cent to 852.24 tonnes on Thursday.

Silver inched 0.2 per cent higher at US$16.98 an ounce, after falling to its lowest since Aug 25 in the previous session.

Platinum gained up to 0.6 per cent at US$941.12 an ounce, while palladium rose 0.4 per cent to US$913.90 an ounce.


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