Korean tensions lift gold prices near one-year highs

Gold rallied to start the holiday-shortened week, as nervousness over North Korea's weekend nuclear display, weakness in the dollar and broad losses in USA equities combined to push the precious metal futures to their highest close since September 22 previous year. South Korea said an agreement with the United States to scrap a weight limit on its warheads would help it to respond to the threat from North Korea after Pyongyang conducted its sixth and largest nuclear test two days ago.

A trio of Federal Reserve speakers are on tap today as well. Underlying dollar weakness continued to provide a firm backdrop to gold prices.

The precious metal had rallied to start the holiday-shortened week as nervousness over the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's weekend nuclear display combined with weakness in the dollar and broad losses in US equities boosted precious metal futures to their highest close since September 22.

In base metals, copper prices rose 0.6% to $3.1470 a pound, hovering near their highest level in nearly three years.

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The Dow Jones industrial average recorded its biggest one-day drop since August 17, falling 234.2 points to close at 21,753.31. Woodside Petroleum is adding 0.3 percent, Oil Search is advancing nearly 1 percent and Santos is rising nearly 2 percent.

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, -0.06% slipped 0.03%.

Also reinforcing gold is loose monetary policy in many parts of the world. Gold and the USA unit typically move inversely as gold priced in greenbacks is more attractive to investors using another currency.

In a speech Tuesday, Fed governor Lael Brainard said the USA central bank should be cautious about raising interest rates amid the economy's "persistent failure" to reach its 2% inflation target. Even Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan, who is seen as a centrist, suggested in his speech that the Fed can afford to be patient because of low inflation. Based on Fed member comments on Tuesday, the central bank is not likely to raise rates this year which should continue to make the U.S. Dollar a less-desirable investment.

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