Gold on track for second weekly gain as Syria concerns linger

Key Points
  • SPDR Gold holdings highest in 10 months
  • Palladium set for biggest weekly rise since January 2017
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Gold prices rose on Friday, heading for a second weekly gain on lingering uncertainty over Western military action in Syria.

Spot gold was up 0.62 percent at $1,343.41 an ounce at 1:54 p.m. ET, set for a weekly gain of nearly 1 percent. U.S. gold futures for June delivery rose 0.34 percent to $1,346.50.

U.S. President Donald Trump and his national security aides on Thursday discussed options on Syria, where he has threatened missile strikes in response to a suspected poison gas attack, as a Russian envoy voiced fears of wider conflict between Washington and Moscow.

Trump, however, cast doubt over the timing of his threatened strike, tweeting that a U.S. attack "could be very soon or not so soon at all."

Gold is often used as a store of value in times of political and financial uncertainty.

"Donald Trump back-pedaled a bit in his morning tweet yesterday, but the danger is still there that the situation could escalate with Russia due to a military attack on Syria," Quantitative Commodity Research consultant Peter Fertig said.

"We are back at a Cold War, which easily could turn into a hot war if someone loses their nerve - and in such a situation, gold is a haven."

In technicals, first support for gold comes in at $1,315, near the 100-day moving average. A break of this could see gold test the 200-day moving average around $1,300.

Global equities were poised for their biggest weekly gain in more than a month as investors shrugged off the geopolitical tensions. Easing concerns over the trade war between China and the United States also weighed on gold in the previous session.

Meanwhile, holdings of SPDR Gold Trust , the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.69 percent to 865.89 tons on Thursday.

Holdings rose to their highest since June 2017 and were up about 3.5 percent so far this year.

Silver rose 1.24 percent to $16.64 an ounce, up nearly 2 percent this week.

Platinum vacillated around $925. For the week, the metal was on course for a more than 1 percent gain, the biggest rise in about two months.

Palladium climbed 2.14 percent to $984.50 and was set for a more than 8 percent weekly gain, its biggest since January 2017.

The metal, more than 40 percent of which is produced in Russia, has bounced strongly this week as sanctions against Moscow fed into a technically driven rebound after the first quarter's 10 percent slide.