Gold ticks higher as Brexit triggered

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LONDON (March 29): Gold edged up on Wednesday, as uncertainty about Brexit talks, French elections and US President Donald Trump's economic policies boosted safe-haven buying and offset a firmer dollar.

Spot gold rose 0.1 percent at US$1,252.76 per ounce at 1418 GMT. US gold futures slipped 0.3 percent to US$1,252.40.       

"There are a lot of uncertainties regarding the Trump reflation trade after the failure last week to overhaul Obamacare and uncertainty in Europe with French elections coming up and the official start today of Brexit negotiations," said Carsten Fritsch, analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.

"The general picture is still positive (for gold) with dips seen as buying opportunities," he said.

Prime Minister Theresa May filed formal Brexit divorce papers on Wednesday, triggering years of negotiations that will test the cohesion of the European Union.             

A firmer dollar capped gains, as it pulled off 4½ month lows, analysts and traders said.

"A resurgent US dollar, along with higher US yields and equities has taken the momentum out of the gold rally for now," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.

Strength in the US currency makes dollar-denominated gold more expensive for holders of other currencies, potentially decreasing demand.          

Independent technical analyst Cliff Green said the gold price would need to take a breather after failing to break above its 200-day moving average at US$1,260.

"It is possibly highlighting the upper boundary of a new consolidation phase with prices likely to experience a rather choppy, two-way market action in the weeks ahead," Green told the Reuters Global Gold Forum.

"It is certainly a peak for the time being but it is also a pivotal level that if breached could trigger more serious gains later in the year," he said.

Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund which is considered a gauge of investment demand, reported an outflow of 1.8 tonnes on Tuesday.
         
In other precious metals, palladium prices were down 0.8 percent to US$785.75 an ounce, after touching a two-year peak of US$815.40 on Friday.

Spot silver slipped 0.1 percent to US$18.13 per ounce.

In the previous session, the metal hit US$18.24, the highest since March 2.  

Platinum rose 0.3 percent to US$950 per ounce.