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Gold trapped in range, shrugs off North Korea

Written by: Staff

SINGAPORE, July 6 (Reuters) Gold was stuck in a range on Thursday as reports that North Korea may fire more missiles failed to attract much safe-haven buying, and dealers said the metal was likely to turn to currencies for direction.

Spot gold hit a high of 8.30 an ounce before retreating to 6.00/626.75 an ounce. That was lower than 7.40/628.10 level late in New York on Wednesday, when gold rose nearly an ounce.

Activities in North Korea suggested the communist state may fire more missiles, South Korea's defence minister was quoted as saying on Thursday by Yonhap news agency.

On Wednesday, gold hit a one-month high of 0.50 an ounce mainly on safe-haven buying after North Korea tested a series of missiles, but there was no follow-up on Thursday.

''I don't think traders have any particular idea as to where the market is heading. We will probably wait for data from the U.S.,'' said a dealer in Hong Kong.

''We can expect to see a trading range of 8 to 0 in the next few days. I don't think North Korea will have any impact on the market now. Everyday, they will launch missiles,'' he said.

Defying international warnings, North Korea launched at least six missiles early on Wednesday and a seventh some 12 hours later, officials in Japan and South Korea said.

In Tokyo, the benchmark June 2007 gold contract <0#JAU:> on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange rose 14 yen per gram to 2,357 yen, tracking strong gains in New York's COMEX market.

The euro was at .2730 , versus .2724 late in New York, and slipping from a one-month high of .2840 on Wednesday.

The market is waiting on the European Central Bank's policy meeting later in the day and U.S. jobs data on Friday.

Expectations of a further U.S. rate hike rose after a report on private-sector employment on Wednesday showed strong growth, raising prospects of similar growth in Friday's non-farm payrolls data for June.

Platinum fell to ,227.50/1,232.50 an ounce from ,232/1,238 in New York.Sister metal palladium rose to 2.50/327.50 an ounce from 0/325.

Silver inched down to .34/11.39 an ounce from .38/11.46.

Precious Metals Prices by 0255 GMT* Metal Last Net change Pct Move Gold 626.30 -1.00 -0.16 Platinum 1227.50 -4.50 -0.37 Palladium 322.50 2.50 +0.78 Silver 11.34 -0.04 -0.35 Change so far in 2006 Metal Latest bid End prev year Pct Move Gold 626.30 517.20 +21.09 Platinum 1227.50 968.00 +26.81 Palladium 322.50 254.00 +26.97 Silver 11.34 8.81 +28.72 REUTERS MQA SSC1208

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