November 21, 2019 / 3:03 AM / 17 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold steady on concerns of delay in U.S.-China trade deal

    * U.S. bills back Hong Kong protesters 
    * China to strive to reach "phase one" deal with U.S.
    * U.S. weekly initial jobless claims data due at 1330 GMT

 (Updates prices, adds comments and details)
    By Sumita Layek
    Nov 21 (Reuters) - Gold prices held steady on Thursday,
supported by concerns that U.S. legislation on Hong Kong could
increase tensions between the United States and China and delay
an interim trade deal.
    Spot gold        was little changed at $1,470.75 per ounce
by 0746 GMT. U.S. gold futures         were down 0.2% to
$1,471.00.
    "There is the possibility that the deal might not be
completed this year, so that is a key support factor," said John
Sharma, an economist with National Australia Bank.
    The metal dipped slightly after China said it would strive
to reach a "phase one" trade deal with the United States, before
recovering the lost ground.                          
    "The price momentum is a bit see-saw, something positive on
trade pushes gold down, something negative takes it higher,"
Sharma added.
    Global stocks faltered as Washington and Beijing sparred
over U.S. bills on Hong Kong, and trade experts and people close
to the White House said completion of a "phase one" deal could
slide into next year.                                       
            
    "That (bills) could pose challenges to the trade deal ...
there might be some progress because both the countries will see
there is some benefit to cooperation, but the quality and
duration (of a deal) is uncertain," Sharma said.
    The protracted dispute has pushed gold, considered a safe
asset in times of political and economic uncertainty, about 14%
higher this year.
    Minutes from the Federal Reserve's October policy meeting
offered little guidance on what would cause policymakers to
change their minds on the outlook after an increasingly divided
Fed decided to pause its easing cycle.             
    "The minutes showing that there is no need for a fourth
interest rate cut is weighing slightly on gold," said Jigar
Trivedi, a commodities analyst at Mumbai-based Anand Rathi
Shares & Stock Brokers.
    Lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost for holding
the non-yielding bullion.
    However, gold will remain supported as "no one knows when
the trade war will be exited", said Trivedi, adding the $1,460
level would act as a technical support while resistance was at
$1,480. 
    Investors now await the U.S. weekly initial jobless claims
data due at 1330 GMT for clues about the health of the world's
largest economy. 
    Elsewhere, silver        shed 0.2% to $17.10 per ounce.
    Silver demand will edge 1% higher this year, reducing global
oversupply, consultancy Metals Focus said.             
    Palladium        lost 0.3% to $1,760.97 per ounce and
platinum        fell 0.3% to $914.48.

 (Reporting by Sumita Layek in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh
Kuber and Subhranshu Sahu)
  
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