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Gold subdued ahead of Fed chair's speech and G-20 summit

Spot gold inches 0.1% lower to US$1,220.97 per ounce at 0702 GMT; holdings of SPDR Gold Trust fall


GOLD prices inched lower on Tuesday as the US dollar held firm, while investors awaited clues on the pace of future US interest rate hikes and as the US-China trade spat sours ahead of a G-20 summit.

Spot gold inched 0.1 per cent lower to US$1,220.97 per ounce at 0702 GMT.

US gold futures were down 0.2 per cent at US$1,220.2 an ounce.

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Investors will hold steady until the minutes of the Federal Reserve meeting are released and more clarity emerges around the trade conflict leading into the G-20 summit, said ANZ analyst Daniel Hynes.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, US President Donald Trump said he expects to move ahead with raising tariffs on US$200 billion in Chinese imports to 25 per cent from the current 10 per cent, and repeated his threat to slap tariffs on all remaining imports from China.

The comments ran counter to recent speculation about a possible deal when Mr Trump meets Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires later this week.

"When these concerns have elevated, investors have tended to seek haven in the US dollar itself rather than gold. It has been an issue plaguing the gold market for a while now," Mr Hynes said.

Gold prices have lost over 10 per cent from their April peak as investors turned to the US dollar as a safe haven with the trade war unfolding against a backdrop of higher US interest rates.

The US dollar index on Tuesday held gains and hovered near its highest level since Nov 15.

Investors also awaited Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's speech and minutes from Fed's Nov 7-8 meeting, due later this week, which will likely indicate the pace of interest rate hikes in 2019. Slowing global growth has raised expectations the Fed may halt its tightening cycle sooner than previously expected.

Gold is highly sensitive to rising interest rates, which lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

They also boost the US dollar, in which the metal is priced.

"Lack of movement in the spot price suggests that the market is cautious... I expect gold to remain supported above US$1,207, with a weak tone," said Nicholas Frappell, global general manager, ABC Bullion, Australia.

Indicative of investor sentiment toward bullion, holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.15 per cent to 761.74 tonnes on Monday.

Meanwhile, hedge funds and money managers cut their net short positions in Comex gold and silver contracts in the week to Nov 20, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission said on Monday. REUTERS