LONDON - Gold rose on Wednesday towards the one-year high hit earlier this week, boosted by tensions on the Korean peninsula and a lower dollar due to growing expectations the Federal Reserve will delay rate rises.
Spot gold rose 0.1 percent to $1,339.58 an ounce at 1334 GMT, a gain of around 8 percent so far this quarter and more than 16 percent so far this year. It touched $1,344.21 an ounce on Tuesday, its highest since Sept. 8.
U.S. gold futures slipped 0.1 percent to $1,344.5.
"Rising geopolitical tensions, the hurricane hitting the U.S. and the looming debt ceiling are increasing demand for safe assets," said Danske Bank analyst Jens Pederson.
"These extraordinary factors are also weakening the dollar from the point of view that the Fed may further postpone normalisation of monetary policy, which would be good news as it would keep a lid on U.S. yields."
Both U.S. government bonds and gold are seen as risk-free by investors. Low U.S. Treasury bond yields mean there is little opportunity cost in holding gold, which earns nothing and costs money to insure and store.
Analysts say low U.S. yields mean investors are unlikely to buy Treasuries, which would also weigh on the dollar. [FRX/]
A lower U.S. currency makes dollar-denominated gold cheaper for holders of other currencies, which could boost demand.
A potential standoff over the U.S. federal debt ceiling has raised alarm bells among investors who fear a repeat of 2011 when a prolonged showdown over increasing the borrowing limit and subsequent downgrade of U.S. credit quality led to slump in the S&P 500 stock index.
Investor unease was reinforced after a North Korean diplomat warned his country is ready to send "more gift packages" to the United States as world powers struggled for a response to Pyongyang's latest nuclear weapons test.
"The concern now is that another launch could take place on September 9th, which is the (North Korea's) Independence Day," said INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir.
"Gold is likely to move higher over the course of September, sustained by a weaker dollar and North Korean tensions...Any further wobbles in US equities could provide further support and perhaps nudge it towards our $1390 price target."
Technical resistance is at $1,352, near the high from last September, followed by $1,376, the upper Bollinger band on the monthly charts. But the momentum indicator near zero suggests gold may be in for a period of consolidation.
Elsewhere silver gained 0.4 percent to $17.96 an ounce, platinum rose 0.3 percent to $1,008.70 an ounce and palladium lost 0.6 percent to $952.22 an ounce.