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Global gold prices hit over three-week high on dollar weakness in thin trading



Gold prices edged up on Tuesday in low-volume trade to more than three-week highs, helped by a weaker dollar. Spot gold was up 0.3% at $1,278.06 per ounce at 8.22am, after hitting its highest since 1 December at $1,279.05. US gold futures rose 0.3% to $1,282.50 an ounce.

The futures market was closed for Christmas on Monday and volumes remained extremely thin on Tuesday.

Anemic US consumption data on Friday helped gold, while the 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,” Halley said.

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% in November.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, edged down 0.1% to 93.256.

Gold rose for a second straight week last week and closed above its 200-day moving average, a key and a positive technical indicator.

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

Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.18% to 837.50 tonnes on Friday from 836.02 tonnes on Thursday.

Spot palladium rose 0.3% to $1,039.60 an ounce on Tuesday, after hitting a 17-year high in the previous session. Prices touched their highest since February 2001 at $1,042.50 on Friday as strong demand from autocatalyst makers reinforced the prospect of market shortages.

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

Spot silver hit more than three-week highs on Tuesday. It was up 0.4% to $16.42 per ounce. Spot platinum rose 0.5% to $918.40 an ounce.


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