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Gold hits 5-month high on rising geopolitical risks

Gold jumped to a five-month high on Monday as investors took refuge in safe-haven assets amid rising geopolitical tensions over North Korea.

Spot gold was up 0.32 percent at $1,289.31 per ounce, after hitting its highest since early November at $1,295.42.

U.S. gold futures for June delivery rose $3.40 to settle at $1,291.90 on Monday.

The yellow metal gave up some gains as the dollar came off a five-month trough against the yen hit earlier in the day, and 10-year U.S. Treasury yields also rebounded from their lowest level since November.

U.S. stocks edged higher after three straight days of losses.

Gold bars are seen in the Austrian Mint (Muenze Oesterreich) headquarters in Vienna
Leonhard Foeger | Reuters

Phillip Streible, senior commodities broker for RJO Futures in Chicago, said gold prices also pared gains on profit taking.

"The Fed is still going to raise rates. The cloud lingers over gold," Streible said.

North Korea on Sunday made what was believed to be a failed missile test launch, increasing geopolitical risks. Regional tensions have risen over the past weeks as U.S. President Donald Trump has taken a tough rhetorical line with Pyongyang.

"Gold will likely retain a measure of strength heading into the French elections in about one week's time, while ongoing tensions in North Korea should also keep the markets rather nervous," said INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir.

With the first round of France's presidential election on April 23, an unpredictable outcome is pushing some pollsters to calculate the most extreme runoff scenarios after Trump's surprising U.S. presidential win in November and Britain's unexpected exit from the European Union in July.

The bullish sentiment in gold was underscored by data showing speculators increased their net long positions for a fourth straight week to April 11.

New York-listed SPDR Gold Shares ETF, the world's biggest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose more than six tons on Thursday, the biggest one-day inflow in a month.

Uncertainties over Trump's policy towards North Korea have been growing since the U.S. Navy fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airfield on April 6.

Adding to these concerns, the U.S. military last week dropped the largest non-nuclear device it has ever used in combat on a network of caves and tunnels used by Islamic State in eastern Afghanistan.

"Gold is trading with an upward bias with the $1,300 level just in sight... We expect any dips in prices to be eagerly sought by traders," said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at OANDA.

Spot silver dipped 0.32 percent to $18.46 after touching a five-month high of $18.649.

Platinum rose 1.85 percent to $989.10, while palladium dropped 0.76 percent to $789.