By Zandi Shabalala
LONDON - Gold prices rose on Friday and were headed for their second weekly gain as investors sought safety from security tensions over Syria.
U.S. President Donald Trump and his national security aides on Thursday discussed options on Syria, where he has threatened missile strikes in response to a suspected poison gas attack, as a Russian envoy voiced fears of wider conflict between Washington and Moscow.
Trump, however, cast doubt over the timing of his threatened strike on Syria on Thursday, by tweeting that an attack on Syria "could be very soon or not so soon at all".
"Donald Trump back-pedalled a bit in his morning tweet yesterday but the danger is still there that situation could escalate with Russia due to a military attack on Syria," said Quantitative Commodity Research consultant Peter Fertig.
"We are back at a Cold War which easily could turn into a hot war if someone loses their nerve and in such a situation gold is a haven."
Gold is often used as store of value in times of political and financial uncertainty.
Spot gold was up 0.4 percent at $1,340.79 an ounce as of 0930 GMT, and was set for a weekly gain of around half a percent. U.S. gold futures were steady at $1,343.70 an ounce.
Global stocks were poised for their biggest weekly gain in over a month, as investors shrugged off tensions while the dollar slipped, boosting commodities.
Easing concerns over the trade war between China and the United States also weighed on gold in the previous session.
Trump said on Thursday that trade "negotiations" between Washington and Beijing were going well.
Meanwhile, holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.69 percent to 865.89 tonnes on Thursday.
Holdings rose to their highest since June 2017 and were up about 3.5 percent so far this year, suggesting an increase in investor appetite for the metal, seen as a safe investment during times of financial and political uncertainties.
In other precious metals, spot silver rose 0.7 percent to $16.54 per ounce, up over 1 percent so far this week.
Platinum was 0.8 percent higher at $931.90 an ounce. For the week, the metal was set for more than a 1 percent rise, the most in about two months.
Palladium climbed 1.3 percent at $976.10 an ounce and was on track for more than an 8 percent rise this week, its best since January 2017.
(Additional reporting by Swati Verma in Bengaluru, editing by David Evans)