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Gold makes headway above US$1,500 as 2020 comes into closer focus

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Gold firmed up a foothold above US$1,500 an ounce as investors positioned for 2020, with post-Christmas gains coming even as equities inched higher and US-China trade concerns eased. Silver rose along with platinum and palladium in what's been a banner year for precious metals.

[SINGAPORE] Gold firmed up a foothold above US$1,500 an ounce as investors positioned for 2020, with post-Christmas gains coming even as equities inched higher and US-China trade concerns eased. Silver rose along with platinum and palladium in what's been a banner year for precious metals.

Bullion advanced for a fourth day, the best run since October, and headed for the highest close in more than seven weeks. The climb comes amid a focus on whether the Federal Reserve's rate-cutting pause will hold next year following three reductions in 2019.

"Without a dovish Fed pivot, it's unlikely gold will make explosive gains, but it does appear the market is trying to carve out a new higher trading range," Stephen Innes, chief Asia market strategist at AxiTrader, said in a note. That current trend "is a very favourable sign for gold bulls", he said.

Gold is up 17 per cent this year - set for the best showing since 2010 - as investors weighed the benefit of havens amid the to-and-fro of the US-China trade war and a run of central bank easing. The latest tick higher came even as Asian stocks edged up, and US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday a trade deal with Beijing is "done".

"Caution needs to be exercised as the bullion markets could be extremely volatile, given the market's low liquidity profile, especially to the downside as trade news remains positive and equity markets still scaling new heights," Mr Innes said.

Spot gold advanced as much as 0.4 per cent to US$1,505.62 an ounce, the highest intraday price since Nov 5, and was at US$1,503.79 at 7.08am in London, where many market participants remain on leave for the Boxing Day break. Silver climbed as much as 1.4 per cent to US$18.0220 an ounce.

Heading into the new year, there are mixed views on gold's prospects. Earlier this month, JPMorgan Chase & Co advised betting on gold to slide as the global economy gathers momentum. Among the bulls, Goldman Sachs Group Inc and UBS Group AG see prices climbing to US$1,600 an ounce.

BLOOMBERG