May 10, 2018 / 7:24 AM / in 4 months

PRECIOUS-Gold firms as dollar rally cools, U.S.-Iran tensions heat up

    * U.S. consumer price data weaker than expected
    * Dollar slips from 4-1/2-month peak
    * U.S.-Iran tensions support gold prices

 (New throughout, updates prices, market activity and comments;
adds second byline and NEW YORK dateline)
    By Renita D. Young
    NEW YORK/LONDON, May 10 (Reuters) - Gold rose on Thursday as
the U.S. dollar backed away from 2018 highs after
weaker-than-forecast U.S. inflation data and as tensions between
the United States and Iran also supported the precious metal.
    The dollar slipped from a 4-1/2-month peak after U.S. data
showed the Consumer Price Index rose 0.2 percent in April, less
than the 0.3 percent increase that had been forecast. A weaker
dollar makes dollar-priced gold cheaper for non-U.S. investors.
      
    Also helping gold, viewed as a safe-haven investment, was
U.S. President Donald Trump's move on Tuesday to withdraw from a
nuclear accord with Iran, raising the risk of conflict in the
Middle East.           
    Israel said on Thursday it had attacked nearly all of Iran's
military infrastructure in Syria after Tehran fired rockets at
Israeli-held territory.             
    "We've seen a (dollar rally) in the last few weeks, but
actually gold hasn't gone down as far as you might think, so
political tensions are helping," said Macquarie commodities
strategist Matthew Turner.
    Turner said the dollar was the main driver for gold and he
expects the precious metal to come under pressure in the near
term, with the dollar extending its rally.
    Spot gold        rose 0.6 percent at $1,320.53 per ounce by
1:34 p.m. EDT (1734 GMT). During the session it touched
$1,322.76, a 10-day high. U.S. gold futures         for June
delivery settled up $9.30, or 0.7 percent, at $1,322.30 per
ounce. 
    Risk appetite among investors limited gold's gains. Global
equities hit a three-week high as rising oil prices boosted
energy companies, offsetting increased political uncertainty.
           
    "It appears as though the investment side of the equation
has not attracted a lot of attention," said Rob Lutts, chief
investment officer of Cabot Wealth Management
    "We are at the lower end of the range. It appears we could
drift back up to $1,350, but longer term. We really need to see
more investment."
    North American gold-backed exchange-traded funds registered
inflows in April at their highest level since September 2017,
with safe-haven purchases ushered in by a trade stand-off
between the United States and China, Syria tensions and worries
about possible U.S. sanctions on Russia.
    In other precious metals, silver        gained 1.4 percent
at $16.72 an ounce after earlier hitting a two-week high at
$16.74.
    Platinum        rose 1.7 percent at $925.40 per ounce,
earlier hitting $926.20, a two-week high. Palladium        rose
2.6 percent at $1,000.70 per ounce, earlier seeing $1,002.10, a
2-1/2-week high.

 (Additional reporting by Apeksha Nair in Bengaluru; editing by
David Goodman and David Gregorio)
  
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