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PRECIOUS-Gold breaks above $1,350 level as growth woes lift safe-haven demand


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* Gold up 1.1% so far this week, set for 4th weekly gain

* Palladium on track for best week in nearly 9 months

* Silver hits one-week high

By Brijesh Patel

June 14 (Reuters) - Gold jumped more than 1% on Friday,surpassing the key $1,350 level for the first time since Aprillast year, as a spur of weak economic data from both China andthe United States, and political concerns in the Middle Eastraised safe-haven demand.

Spot gold XAU= climbed 1.01% to $1,355.49 per ounce as of0749 GMT, after hitting its highest level since April 11, 2018at $1,358.04 earlier in the session.

Bullion has risen 1.1% so far this week, keeping the yellowmetal on track for its fourth consecutive weekly gain.

U.S. gold futures GCv1 jumped 1.2% to $1,359.50 an ounce.

"With geopolitical risk premium ratcheting higher on theback of Middle East tensions and autonomy protest in HongKong, gold represents dependable insurance against thosemounting geopolitical risks," said Stephen Innes, managingpartner at SPI Asset Management.

On Thursday, Washington blamed Iran for attacks on two oiltankers in the Gulf of Oman, raising concerns about a newU.S.-Iranian confrontation. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N23K1S2

Scuffles broke out between demonstrators and police in HongKong on Thursday as hundreds of people kept up a protest againsta planned extradition law with mainland China. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N23J3NL

Meanwhile, China's industrial output growth slowed to a morethan 17-year low of 5% in May, the latest sign of weakeningdemand in the world's second-largest economy as the UnitedStates ramps up trade pressure. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nB9N23B00Q

"When the markets start waxing bearish economic data, it'sthe global recession they are concerned about, triggered byescalation of trade war," Innes said.

"If we have world's second-largest economy struggling,arguably we also have the U.S. struggling, this is bad and weknow we are one step away from recession."

Impact of the long-drawn trade war was also evident on theU.S. labor market, which saw an unexpected rise in the number ofAmericans filing applications for unemployment over the lastweek. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL2N23J12M

Recent economic readings out of U.S. have also boostedexpectations of a rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve, pullingshort-dated U.S. Treasury yields lower on Thursday ahead of thecentral bank's meeting next week. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL2N23K14E

"Gold traded higher as its appeal as an alternativeinvestment in times of uncertainty. The yellow metal has risenas the probabilities of a summer interest rate cut by the Fedhave increased," Alfonso Esparza, a senior market analyst atOANDA, said in a note.

Among other precious metals, silver XAG= gained 1% to$15.04, its highest in a week. Platinum XPT= rose 0.7% to$813.08.

Palladium XPD= climbed 0.4% to $1,450.85 after hitting itshighest since April 29 at $1,453.30 earlier in the session.

The auto-catalyst metal has gained 7% so far this week andis set to post its best week since week ended Sept. 21, 2018. (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by GopakumarWarrier and Rashmi Aich) ((Brijesh.Patel1@thomsonreuters.com; Within U.S. +1 651 8485832, Outside U.S. +91 8067493865; Reuters Messaging:Brijesh.Patel1.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))






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