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Gold slips on firm dollar, but weak equities limit losses

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Investors view gold as a safe investment during times of political and financial uncertainty.

Bengaluru

GOLD prices inched down on Wednesday as the dollar firmed, but the metal remained near a two-week peak hit in the previous session as equities slipped on concerns over global growth and trade tensions between the United States and Europe.

Spot gold was down 0.1 per cent at US$1,302.36 per ounce at 0518 GMT, after touching its highest since March 28 at US$1,306.09 in the previous session.

US gold futures slipped 0.2 per cent to US$1,306 an ounce.

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While the dollar slightly gained against key rivals, a slip in Asian equities from eight-month highs kept bullion underpinned above the key US$1,300 level.

A strong US dollar makes gold costlier for investors holding other currencies.

"There is some switch from equities to gold after US President Donald Trump voiced his intention to impose tariffs on imports from European Union and the market had some concerns on the economic slowdown which was also reported by the IMF," said Argonaut Securities analyst Helen Lau.

Mr Trump on Tuesday threatened to impose tariffs on US$11 billion worth of European Union (EU) products, opening a new front in his global trade war.

Adding to investor concerns, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday slashed its global economic growth forecasts for 2019 and warned growth could slow further.

Gold is used as a safe investment during times of political and financial uncertainty.

"The yellow metal will continue to be bid as the Brexit drama and trade stories unfold at the same time that major central banks continue their dovish rhetoric," Alfonso Esparza, senior market analyst at OANDA, said in a note.

Investors now await the release of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting's minutes from its March meeting and the European Central Bank's policy decision, both due later in the day.

Lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding gold and also weigh on the dollar.

On the technical front, "gold prices will have to hold above the US$1,302 mark for a continuation of the bullish trend scenario this week", Phillip Futures analyst Benjamin Lu said in a note.

Meanwhile, holdings in the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, fell for the seventh consecutive session, dropping about 0.4 per cent to 757.85 tonnes on Tuesday.

Among other precious metals, spot platinum gained about 0.3 per cent to US$889.55 per ounce. The metal had touched its highest since May 2018 at US$914.74 on Monday.

Palladium was flat at US$1,388.75 per ounce, while silver dropped 0.2 per cent to US$15.18. REUTERS