Gold price steady on mixed US-China trade signals

New York (Dec 5)  Gold prices inched up on Thursday as conflicting signals from Washington and Beijing prolonged uncertainty about a trade deal, a day after positive comments on the talks by US President Donald Trump knocked bullion off its one-month high.

Gold rose to $1,484 on Wednesday, its highest since Nov. 7, but settled lower after Trump said that trade talks with China were going "very well".

That came a day after Trump dented hopes for a trade resolution when he said an agreement might have to wait until after the US presidential election in November 2020.

Spot gold was up 0.1 per cent at $1,475.58 per ounce, as of 0811 GMT on Thursday, and US gold futures were up 0.1 per cent at $1,480.90 per ounce.

"Trump mentioned he is happy to wait a year for the China deal to happen and we are not sure whether the first agreement has been inked yet and that's what everybody is looking for," said Brian Lan of Singapore dealer GoldSilver Central.

"Gold has always had the safe-haven asset status and people hold on to gold when they don't know what's going to happen ... US dollar has weakened a bit and that has also helped push gold prices at this time."

The dollar index extended losses and was down 0.1 per cent, making gold cheaper for investors holding other currencies.

Gains in bullion, however, were limited as stocks strengthened after a Bloomberg report on Wednesday that the two sides were close to a "phase one" deal, and Trump's positive comments on trade.

A further 15 per cent US tariff on about $156 billion worth of Chinese imports is set to take effect on Dec. 15. Washington and Beijing have yet to ink a so-called "phase one" agreement announced in October, which had raised hopes of a de-escalation.

Gold has gained about 15 per cent so far this year, which could be its biggest annual gain since 2010, mainly bolstered by the impact of the prolonged US-China trade war on the global economy.

"With doubts emerging about a US-China trade talk, we expect investor demand for safe-haven assets, such as gold-backed ETFs, to increase," ANZ analysts said in a note.

In other precious metals, palladium edged 0.1 per cent higher to $1,871.00 per ounce, after hitting a fresh peak of $1,874.50.

"Tougher environmental regulations are also boosting palladium demand ... As the average loading of palladium in autocatalysts increases, we expect to see an ongoing surge in demand for palladium-rich autocatalysts," ANZ said.

Silver rose 0.4 per cent to $16.89, while platinum was up 0.1 per cent at $896.00 per ounce.

ETmarkets

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