August 27, 2019 / 10:27 AM / 3 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold gains as U.S.-China trade concerns lift safe-haven demand

* Silver hits $18/oz for the first time in two years

* Markets anticipate 25 basis point cut by U.S. Fed (Updates prices)

By Brijesh Patel

Aug 27 (Reuters) - Gold rose on Tuesday as uncertainty over the U.S.-China trade dispute kept investors on edge and drove inflows into the safe haven metal.

Spot gold was up 0.4% at $1,531.28 per ounce, as of 1217 GMT. During trading on Monday, the metal had hit its highest level since April 2013 at $1,554.56.

U.S. gold futures were up 0.3% at $1,541.60.

“It’s clear that the main focus is on the U.S.-China developments. Reports from China on the trade front indicate we are nowhere near any change in the current standoff on trade,” Saxo Bank commodity strategist Ole Hansen said.

“And with the growth numbers in Germany pointing to a recession, there’s not much of an excuse to sell gold if you are holding any, keeping the market more or less unchanged even though we had a toning down of the confrontational tone on trade,” he said.

U.S. President Donald Trump had on Monday predicted a trade deal was coming with China, but Beijing did not confirm reports of a phone call between the two sides.

Washington announced last week an additional 5% duty on $550 billion in targeted Chinese goods, hours after China unveiled retaliatory tariffs on $75 billion worth of U.S. products.

“Overall, if trade tensions remain elevated, gold can count on this issue as being flat out supportive,” VM Markets Managing Partner Stephen Innes said in a note.

Supporting gold, the dollar eased 0.2% on Tuesday, making the metal cheaper for investors holding other currencies,

Meanwhile, the offshore Chinese yuan, which is sensitive to U.S.-China trade disputes, was lower on Tuesday after weakening to a record low of 7.1870 against the dollar the day before.

Adding to uncertainty over the health of the global economy, data showed Germany’s economy contracted on weaker exports in the second quarter.

Markets have priced in a quarter-point cut in interest rates by the U.S. Federal Reserve next month, and over 100 basis points of easing by the end of next year.

Lower U.S. interest rates put pressure on the dollar and bond yields, increasing the appeal of non-yielding bullion.

Elsewhere, silver jumped nearly 2% to hit $18 an ounce for the first time since early September 2017.

Platinum gained 0.8% to $861.72 an ounce and palladium climbed 0.6% to $1,482.93 . (Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru Editing by Edmund Blair)

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