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Gold prices rise as US dollar wilts, awaits US data

[NEW YORK] Gold prices rose on Monday as the US dollar turned lower, but caution over the prospect of a potential escalation in the China-US trade dispute, upcoming US data and US Federal Reserve meeting minutes kept prices in a range.

Spot gold gained 0.3 per cent at US$1,336.80 per ounce by 2.25pm EDT (1825 GMT), while US gold futures for June delivery settled up US$4, or 0.3 per cent, at US$1,340.10 per ounce.

The US dollar index slipped against a basket of currencies and global equities rose as the US government played down fears of a trade war with China, though traders remained cautious.

The two countries have threatened each other with tens of billions of dollars of tariffs, but officials in US President Donald Trump's administration have stressed the tariffs are not yet in place and the dispute could be resolved through talks.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping is due to deliver a speech on Tuesday at the Boao Forum for Asia in Hainan province.

"If (the speech) shows that the trade war tensions are not de-escalated, we could see a big upside move for the gold price," Think Markets' chief market analyst Naeem Aslam said.

"If we look at the price action for gold, we are consolidating," he added.

"Support is at US$1,307 and resistance is at US$1,348. We need to break out of this zone, and that would set the tone for the new trend."

Markets are also looking ahead this week to minutes from the latest Federal Open Markets committee meeting and CPI data, anticipation keeping gold hemmed in a tight range, said Michael Matousek, head trader at US Global Investors.

"Traders are not making any big today moves until they get more confirmation on the direction of rates or inflation," Mr Matousek said.

Higher interest rates tend to make gold less attractive since it does not bear interest.

Silver gained 1.3 per cent at US$16.53 an ounce, while platinum increased 2.4 per cent at US$934.50 an ounce.

Palladium rose 4 per cent at US$936.10 an ounce.

The autocatalyst metal had fallen for the past 11 sessions, hitting its lowest since mid-August at US$895.47 on Friday. It is now down more than a fifth from the record high reached in January.

"The near 20 per cent correction in palladium prices signals a possible bear market," ScotiaMocatta said in a monthly note.

The correction is not surprising given the sharp price gains of recent years, it said, adding, "Palladium's strong fundamentals remain in place, so we would expect dip-buying before too long."

REUTERS