Gold climbs amid US-North Korean 'sabre-rattling'

Trump pounds North Korea

The yen on Friday added to a strong weekly rally against the dollar of close to 1.5 percent, hitting its highest versus the greenback in nearly four months, at 108.73 yen. It is heading for a 2.5% drop for the week.

There were fewer signs of anxiousness in the markets Friday.

Many markets have recently climbed to record or multiyear highs, leaving them vulnerable to a sell-off.

The Korean People's Army said yesterday it was carefully examining plans for a missile attack on the US Pacific territory of Guam.

The Korean won continued to fall versus the dollar, down 0.13 percent to 1,143.5 on Friday for a 1.6 percent decline on the week. Pacific time. The Dow Jones industrial average added 51 points, or 0.2%, to 21,895.

However, bank stocks, including Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley, were down about 1 percent on the dimming prospects of another rate hike this year. Chinese blue chips lost 1.6%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng was 1.9% lower.

"In all likelihood the North Korea problem will persist for years to come, with the U.S, and increasingly China, attempting to contain and restrain Kim Jong-un", said Tom Elliott, global investment strategist at deVere Group.

According to ING's chief Asia economist Robert Carnell, the whole situation resembles a new Cuban Missile Crisis.

"While the United States president insists on ramping up the war of words, there is a decreasing chance of any diplomatic solution", Carnell said. Trump said that further threats would be met with "fire and fury like the world has never seen".

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Shiseido shares soared 13.77 percent to 4,420 yen after the makeup company upgraded its annual sales and profit forecasts, and announced robust earnings for the January-June period.

Most large-cap stocks fell across the board. The UK trading session took USD/CHF lower to hit a day low of 0.9630 towards the closing bell, but closed up slightly on the day by 0.03%.

The CBOE Volatility Index-a measure of investors' expectations for swings in the S&P 500 over the next 30 days-surged 44% to 16.04 Thursday-its highest level since U.S. Election Day.

The dollar widened losses against the yen to hit a two-month low.

"Saber-rattling between two of the world's least predictable leaders caused a wave of risk aversion to wash over global markets, fueling demand for traditional safe harbors", said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions. However, the early gains were short-lived as the New Zealand dollar tumbled to the lowest since July 18 to last trade at $0.7278.

Later in the session dollar traders will be busy monitoring producer prices in the U.S., ahead of the key inflation figure tomorrow.

USA producer prices unexpectedly recorded their biggest drop in almost a year, and the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week.

Excluding food and energy prices, core consumer prices still crept up by 0.1 percent in July, matching the increases seen in the three previous months.

The euro eased 0.1 per cent to $1.1766, staying below a high of around $1.1910 set last week, the euro's strongest level in 2-1/2 years.

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