RPT-PRECIOUS-Gold steady as markets watch Korea, Ireland

(Repeats to additional subscribers)

* Irish government to map out 4-year plan

* Book-squaring seen before U.S. holiday

* Coming up: U.S. initial claims, durable goods; 1330 GMT

By Rujun Shen

SINGAPORE, Nov 24 (BestGrowthStock) – Gold was steady on Wednesday
as investors awaited further developments on the conflict in
the Korean peninsula amid worries about the euro zone debt
crisis.

South Korea warned North Korea of “enormous retaliation” if
it took more aggressive steps after Pyongyang fired scores of
artillery shells at a South Korean island in one of the
heaviest
attacks on its neighbour since the Korean War ended in 1953.

For stories on the conflict, click [ID:nN23168261]

“It’s mainly safe-haven buying in gold after North Korea
and
South Korea exchanged fire yesterday, in addition to the
buy-on-dip type,” said Li Ning, an analyst at Shanghai CIFCO
Futures.

“Gold is likely to revisit its record high at the end of
this year or next year, thanks to strong demand, particularly
from this region.

Spot gold shed $1.5 to $1,374.70 an ounce by 0347
GMT, after rising to $1,382 in the previous session, its
highest since Nov 12.

U.S. gold futures fell 0.2 percent to $1,374.7.

In Ireland, the deeply unpopular government said it will
explain on Wednesday how it plans to save 15 billion euros over
the next four years, inflicting more pain on voters to prove
that it can tackle the country’s debt. [ID:nLDE6AM25A]

The euro hovered above two-month lows on Wednesday, while
the dollar was steady after rallying near a two-month high of
79.743 in the previous session.

“There is some book-squaring before the U.S. holiday
tomorrow. Gold is still on the upside, thanks to
risk aversion,” said a Hong Kong-based dealer.

Demand from Asian countries remained robust, with bargain
hunting seen around the $1,350 level, but scrap selling was
scarce, he added.

The U.S. economy grew faster than previously estimated in
the third quarter, but a slump in sales of previously owned
homes in October indicated the recovery remains too anemic to
reduce high unemployment. [ID:nN2399302]

The U.S. is scheduled to release a batch of data later in
the day, including the weekly initial jobless claims, October
durable goods order and new home sales, just ahead of the
Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday.

Holdings in the iShares Silver Trust , the world’s
largest physically-backed exchange-traded fund, rose to record
highs for three consecutive sessions, signalling strong
investment demand in the metal, seen as an alternate investment
from gold. [ID:nSGE6AM0JH]

Holdings in the SPDR Gold Trust remained unchanged
at 1,285.084 tonnes.

Spot silver gained 0.3 percent to $27.56 an ounce.

Spot palladium led the precious metals complex by gaining
1.4 percent to $695.72.

Precious metals prices at 0347 GMT
Metal Last Change Pct chg YTD pct chg Turnover
Spot Gold 1374.70 -1.50 -0.11 25.46
Spot Silver 27.56 0.08 +0.29 63.76
Spot Platinum 1655.24 8.00 +0.49 12.83
Spot Palladium 695.72 9.25 +1.35 71.57
TOCOM Gold 3688.00 27.00 +0.74 13.16 47780
TOCOM Platinum 4478.00 -45.00 -0.99 2.21 8971
TOCOM Silver 74.00 -0.40 -0.54 43.13 1487
TOCOM Palladium 1860.00 -34.00 -1.80 59.66 976
Euro/Dollar 1.3398
Dollar/Yen 83.19

TOCOM prices in yen per gram. Spot prices in $ per ounce.
(Editing by Manash Goswami)

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RPT-PRECIOUS-Gold steady as markets watch Korea, Ireland