Gold trades near highest since May as Syria tensions spur demand

Stocks fall on risk exit

Gold traded near the highest level since May after a four-day rally as speculation that the U.S. may lead military strikes against Syria within days spurred investors’ demand for a haven. Silver advanced.

Bullion for immediate delivery rose as much as 0.3 percent to $1,419.55 an ounce and was at $1,415.75 at 8:43 a.m. in Singapore. Prices climbed to $1,423.95 yesterday, the highest since May 15. Gold for December delivery declined 0.3 percent to $1,415.90 an ounce on the Comex after rising 2 percent yesterday.

The U.S., France and Britain stepped closer to a strike against Syria, laying the legal groundwork to justify military action, moving forces into place and rounding up allies. Syria is suspected of launching an Aug. 21 chemical-weapons attack outside Damascus. Gold is heading for a second monthly rise.

“The market is really focused on the safe-haven aspect,” said David Lennox, a resource analyst at Fat Prophets in Sydney. “There was a bit of risk off the table, with equity markets heading south on the back of escalating words about actions on Syria.”

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index dropped 1.6 percent yesterday, the most since June 20, while the MSCI Asia Pacific Index retreated 1.1 percent today. West Texas Intermediate crude rose for a second day amid speculation supplies may be disrupted.

Assets in the SPDR Gold Trust reached the highest since Aug. 1, gaining 0.1 percent to 921.03 metric tons, according to data on the fund’s website. Holdings rose for a second week in the five days to Aug. 23 as prices rebounded from a 34-month low in June.

Silver for immediate delivery climbed as much as 0.6 percent to $24.6038 an ounce and traded at $24.534. Prices touched $24.708 yesterday, the highest since April. Platinum advanced 0.4 percent to $1,532.75 an ounce and palladium was little changed at $744.50 an ounce.

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