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Gold gains as trade war fears weigh on dollar, equities

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Gold prices inched higher early Wednesday to their highest in a week as US equities and the dollar weakened after President Donald Trump said he would push ahead with punitive tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, rekindling fears of a potential trade war.

[BENGALURU] Gold prices inched higher early Wednesday to their highest in a week as US equities and the dollar weakened after President Donald Trump said he would push ahead with punitive tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, rekindling fears of a potential trade war.

Spot gold rose 0.1 per cent to US$1,335.07 per ounce at 0126 GMT after hitting US$1,340.42 an ounce earlier in the session, its highest since Feb 26.

US gold futures for April delivery rose 0.1 per cent to US$1,336.30 per ounce.

US stock futures and the dollar slumped on Wednesday after a key advocate for free trade in the White House announced his resignation, fanning fears Trump would go ahead with tariffs and risk a trade war.

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Mr Trump's top economic adviser Gary Cohn resigned on Tuesday after the US president said he was sticking with plans to impose hefty tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, which some critics have dubbed the first shot in a global trade war.

The US dollar will retreat further over the coming year, giving way to an ascendant euro, according to a Reuters poll of strategists who said five or more Federal Reserve rate rises would be needed to significantly boost the greenback's fortunes.

Feeling the pressure of sanctions, North Korea seems "sincere" in its apparent willingness to halt nuclear tests if it held denuclearization talks with the United States, Trump said on Tuesday as US, South Korean and Japanese officials voiced skepticism about any discussions.

New orders for US-made goods recorded their biggest decline in six months in January and business spending on equipment appeared to be slowing after strong growth in 2017.

Asian gold-backed exchange-traded funds (ETFs) added more tonnes in February than North America and Europe, reversing its 2017 trend of having more flows out, the World Gold Council said on Tuesday.

REUTERS