February 11, 2019 / 4:03 PM / 3 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold slips as dollar gains on global trade jitters

* U.S. dollar hits near eight-week peak

* Platinum at a more than one-month low (Updates prices)

By Swati Verma

Feb 11 (Reuters) - Gold prices fell on Monday as investors preferred the safety of the dollar in the face of mounting concerns that the U.S.-China trade dispute could slow global growth.

Spot gold was 0.4 percent lower at $1,308.18 per ounce at 2:13 p.m. EST (1913 GMT).

U.S. gold futures settled down 0.5 percent at $1,311.9 per ounce.

“The big factor here is the strengthening of the U.S. dollar,” which is being supported by the trade dispute, said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategies at TD Securities in Toronto.

“Any sort of a lack of agreement between the United States and China weakens the global emerging market currencies and that means, in relative terms, the U.S. dollar does better, which is negative for gold,” he said.

Trade talks between Washington and Beijing are set to resume this week with a delegation of U.S. officials traveling to China for the next round of negotiations.

But U.S. President Donald Trump last week said he did not plan to meet with China’s President Xi Jinping before the March 1 deadline, dampening hopes that a trade pact might be reached quickly.

The dollar index was at its highest in nearly eight weeks, which could dent demand for the metal amongst holders of other currencies.

“Gains in U.S. and world stock markets are also a bearish element for the safe-haven metals,” Jim Wyckoff, senior analyst at Kitco Metals, wrote in a note to clients.

Gold could be vulnerable to more corrections if the dollar strengthens further, analysts said.

“With U.S. employment numbers still quite strong and people moving into dollar for safe-haven purposes, there is really no good reason why gold should take off much higher,” TD’s Melek said.

But the yellow metal held above the key $1,300-per-ounce level, supported by uncertainties surrounding the U.S. Federal Reserve’s monetary policy and the possibility of another U.S. government shutdown, analysts said.

Gold prices should remain rangebound until there is clarity on the trade front and a government shutdown, Oanda analyst Edward Moya said in a research note.

Meanwhile, platinum fell 1.8 percent to $783.50 per ounce, having earlier touched its lowest level since Jan. 2 at $779.50.

“The spot price of platinum breaking through the $800 level has forced some hedge funds to head for the exit,” Walter Pehowich, executive vice president of investment services at Dillon Gage Metals, said in a note.

“With a lack of any good news to support a rally in this market, I expect the sell off to continue.”

Palladium slid 1.4 percent to $1,383 per ounce, while silver fell nearly 1 percent to $15.67.

Reporting by Swati Verma, Arpan Varghese and Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; editing by David Gregorio and Lisa Shumaker

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