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Gold climbs to one-week high after Yellen’s speech

Gold rose to its highest in over a week early Monday, extending gains from the previous session, after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen skipped any mention of monetary policy in a speech at a central bankers meeting in the United States.

Spot gold rose 0.2 percent to $1,293.96 an ounce by 0343 GMT, after reaching its highest since Aug. 18 at $1,294.88 earlier. It gained nearly 0.4 percent in the previous session.

U.S. gold futures for December delivery were up 0.1 percent to $1,299.50 per ounce.

At the meeting in Jackson Hole on Friday, Yellen made no reference to U.S. monetary policy but instead focused on financial regulations, leading traders to expect a slowing in further interest rate hikes.

Later in the day, European Central Bank Chief Mario Draghi said the bank’s ultra-loose monetary policy was working and that the euro zone’s economic recovery has taken hold, but refrained from commenting on the single currency’s recent strength.

“The rhetoric surrounding Jackson Hole was in part an optimistic one, owing to the ECB president’s comment that ‘global recovery is firming up’ while the euro area growth was ‘gaining ground’,” OCBC analyst Barnabas Gan said.

“…Yellen and Draghi remained ambiguous over monetary policy strategies, thus giving market players the reason to lift gold prices on monetary policy uncertainty.”

Gold is highly sensitive to rising rates, which lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion, while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced.

The euro on Monday surged to its highest in over 2-1/2 years against the dollar.

“Gold prices could breach $1,300 per ounce this week should safe haven demand stay supported on Trump’s threat to quit NAFTA amid North Korean tensions,” Gan said.

U.S. President Donald Trump renewed his threat to scrap NAFTA and ripped on trading partners Canada and Mexico in a tweet early on Sunday, days before the three countries were scheduled to hold a second round of negotiations on rewriting the 23-year-old agreement.

Speculators raised their net long position in COMEX gold for the sixth straight week in the week to Aug. 22, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed on Friday.

Among other precious metals, silver edged up 0.3 percent to $17.10 an ounce, after earlier touching its best since Aug. 18 at $17.21.

Platinum rose 0.4 percent to $976 an ounce, while palladium slipped 0.1 percent at $927.72.