June 2, 2020 / 4:36 AM / a month ago

PRECIOUS-Gold slips on recovery hopes, U.S.-China worries limit losses

* SPDR Gold Trust holdings rose on Monday to a fresh 7-year high

* For an interactive graphic tracking the global coronavirus spread, open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser (Updates prices)

By Harshith Aranya

June 2 (Reuters) - Gold prices slipped on Tuesday as hopes for a gradual recovery in economic growth rose following easing of lockdowns, though deteriorating U.S.-China relations and fears over the spread of the coronavirus amid protests in the United States limited losses.

Spot gold was down 0.3% at $1,734.66 per ounce as of 0819 GMT. U.S. gold futures fell 0.2% to $1,746.10.

“It appears that there are factors both supporting, and limiting appreciation in the gold price,” said National Australia Bank economist John Sharma.

The U.S. is likely to revoke Hong Kong’s special status, and China would retaliate by limiting purchase of U.S. products- putting the Sino-U.S. trade deal in doubt, and providing support to gold; while the easing of lockdowns is capping gains, Sharma added.

In a sign that the worst of the economic downturn from the coronavirus pandemic might be over, U.S. manufacturing activity crawled up slightly from an 11-year low, and China’s factory activity unexpectedly returned to growth in May.

“Gold’s rally lacks momentum,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA, adding that it is likely to be range bound between $1,700 and $1,750 in the short term.

Despite some optimism about economies gradually reopening, gold prices have gained in the previous three sessions, and hit their highest on Monday since May 21.

Demonstrations over the death of an African American in police custody continued in the United States; which also sparked fears that it could worsen the spread of the coronavirus, and hamper the world’s biggest economy’s recovery.

U.S. President Donald Trump stated he would deploy the military, if required.

Reflecting investor sentiment, SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose 0.5% to 1,128.40 tonnes on Monday, the highest in seven years.

Elsewhere, palladium dropped 0.7% to $1,948.55 per ounce, platinum was down 0.7% to $841.42, and silver fell 0.5% to $18.18. (Reporting by Harshith Aranya and Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)

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