* Fed postponing policy normalisation is a plus for gold
* Debt ceiling standoff sets off alarm bells
* First upside resistance at $1,352 near Sept 2016 high
(Recasts, adds comment, adds dateline) LONDON, Sept 6 (Reuters) - Gold rose towards one-year highs on Wednesday, boosted by tensions on the Korean peninsula and a lower dollar due to growing expectations the Federal Reserve will delay rate rises.
Spot gold was little changed at $1,340.12 an ounce at
0937 GMT, a gain of around 8 percent so far this quarter and more than 16 percent so far this year. It touched $1,344.21 an ounce on Tuesday, its highest since Sept. 8.
U.S. gold futures were up 0.1 percent at $1,345.2 an
ounce. "Rising geopolitical tensions, the hurricane hitting the U.S. and the looming debt ceiling are increasing demand for safe assets," said Danske Bank analyst Jens Pederson. "These extraordinary factors are also weakening the dollar from the point of view that the Fed may further postpone normalisation of monetary policy, which would be good news as it would keep a lid on U.S. yields." Both U.S. government bonds and gold are seen as risk-free by investors. Low U.S. Treasury bond yields mean there is little opportunity cost in holding gold, which earns nothing and costs money to insure and store. Analysts say low U.S. yields mean investors are unlikely to buy Treasuries, which would also weigh on the dollar. A lower U.S. currency makes dollar-denominated gold cheaper for holders of other currencies, which could boost demand. A potential standoff over the U.S. federal debt ceiling has raised alarm bells among investors who fear a repeat of 2011 when a prolonged showdown over increasing the borrowing limit and subsequent downgrade of U.S. credit quality led to slump in the S&P 500 stock index. Investor unease was reinforced after a North Korean diplomat warned his country is ready to send "more gift packages" to the United States as world powers struggled for a response to Pyongyang's latest nuclear weapons test. "The concern now is that another launch could take place on September 9th, which is the (North Korea's) Independence Day," said INTL FCStine analyst Edward Meir. "Gold is likely to move higher over the course of September, sustained by a weaker dollar and North Korean tensions...Any further wobbles in US equities could provide further support and perhaps nudge it towards our $1390 price target." On technicals, resistance is at $1,352, near the high from last September, followed by $1,376, the upper Bollinger band on the monthly charts. But the momentum indicator near zero suggests gold may be in for a period of consolidation.
Elsewhere silver gained 0.2 percent to $17.93, platinum rose 0.5 percent to $1,010.80 and palladium
added 0.7 percent to $962.75 an ounce.
(Additional reporting by Apeksha Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)