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Gold prices slip

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Gold prices inched lower on Tuesday, a day after hitting their highest in nearly seven years, with a lack of immediate escalation between the United States and Iran denting bullion’s safe-haven appeal.

Spot gold fell 0.2 per cent to $1,562.81 per ounce by 0107 GMT. In the previous session, prices hit their highest since April 2013 at $1,582.59. US gold futures fell 0.2 per cent to $1,566.00.

Palladium hit an all-time peak of $2,032.94 an ounce earlier in the session on supply concerns and was last down 0.1 per cent at $2,028.90.

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Asian shares rebounded after there was no further escalation in Middle East tensions.

Providing limited support to gold, Defence Secretary Mark Esper said on Monday that the United States has no plans to pull its troops out of Iraq, following reports of an American military letter informing Iraq officials about the repositioning of troops in preparation to leave the country.

US Vice-President Mike Pence would give a speech next Monday laying out the government’s policy on Iran, a White House official said after the US killing of a top Iranian general sparked protest across the Middle Eastern nation.

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Tanzania’s earnings from gold exports rose 42 per cent year-on-year in the year to November, helped by higher prices and volumes shipped, the central bank said on Monday.

Goldman Sachs on Monday maintained its three-, six- and 12-month forecast for gold at $1,600 per ounce, contending safe-haven bullion to be a better hedge than oil during phases of geopolitical uncertainty.

The world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, said its holdings rose 0.10 per cent to 896.18 tonnes on backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, said its holdings rose 0.10 per cent to 896.18 tonnes on Monday from 895.30 tonnes on Friday.
Hedge funds and money managers increased their bullish positions in COMEX gold and silver contracts in the week to Dec. 31, data showed on Monday.

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Elsewhere, silver slipped 0.5 per cent to $18.06 per ounce, while platinum was flat at $962.68.

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