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Gold Poised for Weekly Gain as Iraq Violence Sparks Haven Demand

June 13 (Bloomberg) -- Gold was little changed near the highest in more than two weeks as investors weighed whether escalating violence in Iraq will increase demand for the precious metal as a haven.

Gold rallied this week while oil extended gains today and European equities fell as Iraq’s Shiite-led government struggled to retain control of Sunni-majority regions, after army units in northern parts of the country collapsed amid an extremist advance. Bullion increased 5.9 percent this year in part as tension between Ukraine and Russia fueled demand for a haven.

“Although gold had a relatively quiet few days early on in the week, it has been firming up over the past two days on account of the disturbing developments being reported out of Iraq,” Edward Meir, an analyst at INTL FCStone in New York, wrote in a report e-mailed today. “Developments in Iraq will likely dictate the near-term trend.”

Gold for August delivery was little changed at $1,273.20 an ounce at 7:01 a.m. on the Comex in New York, after earlier rising to $1,277.60, the highest since May 27. The metal headed for a 1.7 percent gain this week, after rising 0.5 percent the previous week. Gold for immediate delivery was little changed at $1,273.08 an ounce in London, according to Bloomberg generic pricing.

Platinum for July delivery rose 0.3 percent to $1,445.90 an ounce in New York. Prices declined 2.7 percent yesterday. Palladium for September delivery was little changed at $819.75 an ounce after tumbling yesterday by 4.7 percent, the most in almost a year.

Mining companies and union officials in South Africa agreed on a wage pact to present to workers in a bid to end a 20-week strike that has hurt output in the country, the largest platinum and second-biggest palladium producer.

Silver for July delivery rose 0.1 percent to $19.555 an ounce, poised for a second weekly gain. The metal for immediate delivery advanced 0.1 percent to $19.5605 an ounce in London.

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