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Gold ends above $1,260; palladium spikes to near 4 year high

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Gold settled higher on Tuesday as palladium jumped to its highest level in nearly 3-1/2 years after talks to resolve a five-month strike in top producer South Africa broke down.

Wage talks between South Africa's main mine workers' union and major platinum producers were deadlocked on Monday, prompting the mining minister to abandon his mediation role and dashing hopes for an end to a strike that is pushing the economy towards recession.

Palladium, of which South Africa is the second-biggest producer, hit its highest since February 2011 at $853.75 an ounce, and last traded up 1.7 percent at $852. Platinum was up 2.4 percent near $1,478 an ounce.

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
Volume
GOLD
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GOLD/USD
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SILV/USD
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SILVER
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PALL/USD
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PLAT/USD
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U.S. gold futures for August delivery settled $6.20 higher at $1,260.10 an ounce.

Spot gold, meanwhile, edged up 0.6 percent to $1,260 an ounce, gaining some traction from mixed European equities, while a firmer dollar capped gains.Gold rose around 1 percent last Thursday after the European Central Bank cut interest rates to record lows as dealers who had bet against the move rushed to cover positions, analysts said.

"You have the stock market at an all-time high. Investors are going to have to find a place to diversify their money and the precious metals are very under-owned,'' said COMEX gold options floor trader Jonathan Jossen.

U.S. bond manager PIMCO said on Tuesday gold should benefit by rising inflation and lower real interest rates.

"We find gold attractive at current valuations,'' Mihir Worah, PIMCO's deputy chief investment officer said in a note.

In other investment news, monthly data from asset manager BlackRock on Monday showed about $297 million was withdrawn from gold exchange-traded products in May as some of the heat came out of the Ukraine crisis, BlackRock said.

—By Reuters. For more information on precious metals, click here.

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