LONDON (Reuters) - Gold hit the highest levels in two months on Thursday as the United States and North Korea exchanged more threats, prompting investors to buy bullion as a safe haven asset.
North Korea on Thursday outlined detailed plans for a missile strike near the Pacific territory of Guam, keeping up a war of words with U.S. President Donald Trump after he said Pyongyang would face "fire and fury" if it continued to threaten the United States.
"For now, the uptrend is very much intact in gold, reacting to external geopolitical events," said Jonathan Butler, commodities analyst at Mitsubishi in London.
Spot gold was up 0.2 percent at $1,279.33 per ounce by 1000 GMT after hitting $1,280.53 an ounce, its highest level since June 9. Gold climbed 1.3 percent in the previous session, its biggest gain since mid-May.
U.S. gold futures for December delivery rose 0.5 percent to $1,285 per ounce.
The $1,279 area is a key technical level, representing a downtrend that has been in force since mid-2016 when gold surged to a two-year peak of $1,374.91.
"If we break above this downtrend, then we potentially open up the region up to $1,300, the recent highs we saw in April and June," Butler said.
World stocks fell for a third day on Thursday and investors shifted assets into safe haven currencies the Swiss franc and yen as well as gold.
"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.
Speculative positions in U.S. gold futures remain subdued, said UBS strategist Joni Teves.
"Subdued participation this year and lean positioning suggests that market participants would have to play catch-up on a break higher," she said in a note.
The market was also waiting for U.S. inflation data on Friday that would offer clues about the extent to which the strengthening U.S. labour market is spilling over into inflation.
In other precious metals, silver rose 1 percent to $17.06 per ounce after hitting $17.09, its highest since June 14.
Platinum gained 0.6 percent to $977 per ounce. In the previous session, it marked its highest since April 21 at $980.60.
Palladium climbed 0.6 percent to $894.70 per ounce.
(Additional reporting by Nithin Prasad in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)