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Gold gains on haven demand as FBI's move ripples through markets

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[MELBOURNE] Gold advanced on haven demand as polls in the US showed that Democrat Hillary Clinton may have lost some ground to Donald Trump in the presidential contest following last week's intervention of the FBI, which has fanned concern among investors with the race in its final stages.

Bullion for immediate delivery climbed as much as 0.3 per cent to US$1,279.63 an ounce and traded at US$1,277.16 at 8:52am in Singapore, according to Bloomberg generic pricing.

The precious metal surged as much as 1.3 per cent to US$1,284.20 on Friday, the highest price since Oct 4, as the news broke.

The US contest has helped to support bullion in recent months amid concern about the possible implications of a Trump presidency. On Friday, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey said the agency is reviewing newly discovered e-mails that may be pertinent to its investigation of Mrs Clinton's use of a private server during her tenure as secretary of state. Polls taken since the announcement suggest the Democrat is losing some support.

The metal's gains are "on the back of safe-haven buying after the FBI reopened its inquiry into Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail server," Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd analysts wrote in a note on Monday. The move from Mr Comey "drove risk-off moves in markets", it said.

An ABC/Washington Post tracking survey released Sunday, conducted both before and after Mr Comey's letter was made public, found about one-third of likely voters, including 7 per cent of Mrs Clinton supporters, said the revelations made them less likely to support the candidate.

A CBS/YouGov survey of likely voters across 13 battleground states showed that one per cent of Hillary Clinton supporters were less likely to vote for her.

The political developments have eclipsed investors' focus on the Federal Reserve and US monetary policy amid speculation that interest rates will probably rise before the year-end.

While Fed policy makers gather this week, investors do not expect them to alter course before the US election. The odds of a hike in December are at 69 per cent.