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Gold hits over 3-week high on US dollar weakness; palladium at 17-year high

Gold prices edged up on Tuesday to more than a three-week high on a weaker US dollar, while palladium hit its highest since Feb 2001.

[BENGALURU] Gold prices edged up on Tuesday to more than a three-week high on a weaker US dollar, while palladium hit its highest since Feb 2001.

Spot gold was trading 0.3 per cent higher at US$1,278.04 per ounce at 0715 GMT, after hitting its highest level since Dec 1 at US$1,279.19.

US gold futures rose 0.3 per cent to US$1,282.50 an ounce.

Anemic US consumption data on Friday helped gold, while the US dollar remained under pressure in thin trading in Asia, said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at Oanda.

"With North Korea's Constitution Day Holiday on Wednesday, there may also be an element of risk hedging in play for regional markets at the moment," Mr Halley said.

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Tension has been rising over North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes, which it pursues in defiance of years of UN Security Council resolutions, with bellicose rhetoric coming from both Pyongyang and the White House.

US growth prospects dimmed on Friday as data showed spending outpaced income in November and the Federal Reserve's preferred inflation measure - the personal consumption expenditures price index that excludes food and energy - rose by just 0.1 per cent in November.

The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, edged down 0.1 per cent to 93.273.

Last week, gold posted its second consecutive weekly gain and closed above its 200-day moving average, a key technical indicator.

Adding a touch of bullishness to gold was the data from US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on Friday, which showed that hedge funds and money managers had increased their net long stance in gold in the week to Dec 19.

"Certain speculators moved earlier in the month from gold to Bitcoin. With the heavy fall in Bitcoin before Christmas holidays, people moved back to gold," said Amit Gupta, portfolio management services head at Adroit Financial Services.

Spot palladium on Tuesday rose 0.8 per cent to US$1,044.50 an ounce, a 17-year high. Prices touched their highest level since February 2001 at US$1,046.70 as strong demand from autocatalyst makers reinforced the prospect of market shortages.

Analysts expect that about 80 per cent of global palladium demand will come from autocatalysts for gasoline-powered cars, which many now prefer over diesel-fuelled vehicles.

"The physical shortage is pushing prices high... This should take the metal (palladium) to new highs in 2018," a Shanghai-based trader said.

Spot silver hit more than three-week highs on Tuesday. It was up 0.5 per cent to US$16.45 per ounce.

Spot platinum rose 0.3 per cent to US$916.55 an ounce.


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