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Gold hovers near two-month highs on North Korea tensions

Gold on Thursday held steady near two-month highs hit the session before, bolstered by safe-haven demand triggered by rising tensions on the Korean peninsula.

North Korea dismissed on Thursday warnings by U.S. President Donald Trump that it would face “fire and fury” if it threatened the United States as a “load of nonsense”, and outlined detailed plans for a missile strike near the Pacific territory of Guam.

“(Safe-haven demand) has settled down to a certain extent, but the market is still expecting more news to come,” said Brian Lan, managing director at gold dealer GoldSilver Central in Singapore.

“North Korea doesn’t seem like they’re going to back down and the U.S. has also made a very strong stance this time.”

Geopolitical risk can boost demand for assets seen as safe-havens such as gold.

Spot gold had eased 0.1 percent to $1,276.40 per ounce at 0322 GMT. The precious metal climbed 1.3 percent in the previous session, its biggest gain since mid-May, and touched $1,278.66 an ounce, it highest level since June 14.

U.S. gold futures for December delivery rose 0.2 percent to $1,281.90 per ounce on Thursday.

Asian stocks steadied and U.S. Treasury bond prices fell slightly on Thursday as the risk aversion triggered by tensions between the United States and North Korea began to settle.

“Amid all the sabre-rattling, we expect gold prices to continue to move higher and likely cross the $1,300 an ounce mark in relative short order,” said INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir.

The market was also waiting for data that would offer clues about the extent to which the strengthening U.S. labour market is spilling over into inflation.

“Investors tend to be more cautious ahead of economic data, especially when the prices are high. They might take profits first and wait to see what’s going to happen before they move into the market again,” said GoldSilver’s Lan.

In other precious metals, silver was nearly flat at $16.90 per ounce after hitting its highest since June 15 earlier in the session.

Platinum was also almost unchanged at $971.75 per ounce. In the previous session, it marked its highest since April 21 at $980.60.