PRECIOUS-Gold prices edge up amid trade war worries


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    * Trade war fears support safe-haven demand for gold
    * Silver slips to weakest since December
    * Platinum falls to one-week low

 (Adds comment, detail; updates prices)
    By Karen Rodrigues
    BENGALURU, July 12 (Reuters) - Gold prices edged up on
Thursday, snapping two sessions of declines amid worries over
the intensifying trade war between the United States and China.
    Spot gold  XAU=  was up 0.2 percent at $1,244 an ounce at
0650 GMT. In the previous session, it slipped 1 percent to hit
its lowest in over a week at $1,240.89.
    U.S. gold futures  GCcv1  for August delivery were little
changed at $1,244 an ounce.
    "Today is again one of those days where trade war concerns
have brought (some) interest for gold," said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst.
    "We know for certain that Trump is serious with respect to
trade tariffs on China. Once again, the counter reaction from
China is expected and that itself would have tendency to
escalate the tensions further. So maybe stay bullish on gold for
a little longer." 
    Stocks and commodities recovered slightly on Thursday as
markets consolidated from the previous session's steep losses,
when fears of an escalation in the U.S.-China trade war jolted
investor sentiment.  MKTS/GLOB 
    China accused the United States of bullying and warned it
would hit back after the Trump administration raised the stakes
in their trade dispute, threatening 10 percent tariffs on $200
billion of Chinese goods in a move that rattled global markets.*:nL4N1U71IM
    "The precious metal (gold) looks likely to edge up today as
buying activities commence as prices hover above key support
levels for now," Benjamin Lu, a commodities analyst at
Singapore-based broker Phillip Futures, said in a note.
    Investors often turn to bullion as a so-called safe haven in
times of economic or political uncertainty.
    Meanwhile, the dollar rose to a six-month high against the
yen and steadied against other major peers on Thursday after
U.S. inflation data reaffirmed expectations that the Federal
Reserve will hike interest rates two more times this year.
    "The further escalation of the trade war is mutually
destructive given the higher U.S. consumer prices as a result of
import tariffs, which in turn could fuel risk of a
faster-than-expected Fed rate hike in the foreseeable horizon,"
OCBC said in a note.
    A stronger dollar and higher interest rates reduce demand
for non-interest bearing gold as the metal becomes more
expensive for holders of other currencies.
    Among other precious metals, silver  XAG=  was 0.7-percent
higher at $15.86 an ounce. Earlier in the session it fell to its
lowest since mid-December at $15.72 an ounce.
    Platinum  XPT=  was up 0.3 percent at $827.30 an ounce,
after falling to an over one-week low at $821.25 earlier, while
palladium  XPD=  was 0.1-percent higher at $938.80 per ounce.

 (Reporting by Karen Rodrigues in Bengaluru; Editing by Sunil
Nair and Joseph Radford)
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