June 15, 2018 / 10:45 AM / in a month

PRECIOUS-Gold tumbles to three-week low as investors bail out

    * Spot gold hits lowest since May 21 
    * Trump imposes tariffs on $50 bln of Chinese goods
    * Palladium headed for first weekly decline in four

 (Recasts, adds quotes, updates prices)
    By Eric Onstad
    LONDON, June 15 (Reuters) - Gold prices slumped to
three-week lows on Friday as disappointed speculators liquidated
long positions despite fresh trade skirmishes between the United
States and China.
    Some investors had taken long positions ahead of key central
bank decisions this week, but gold only briefly surged to a
one-month peak on Thursday of $1,309.30 before retreating when
the dollar strengthened.
    "After it was clear today that gold had failed to clear the
$1,300 level, people rushed to the exit," a trader in Europe
said.
    Spot gold        was down 1.4 percent at $1,283.60 per ounce
at 1400 GMT, its weakest since May 21, while U.S. gold futures
        for August delivery slid 1.7 percent to $1,235.80 per
ounce. 
    "The dollar has been waking up to some renewed strength and
that's largely been held onto today," said Jonathan Butler,
commodities analyst at Mitsubishi in London. 
    The dollar index       , was slightly firmer after hitting
the highest since November last year.       
    Gold deepened losses after President Donald Trump on Friday
announced that the United States will implement a 25 percent
tariff on $50 billion of goods from China and Beijing quickly
said it would hit back with its own tariffs.             
    Analysts had expected gold to be bolstered by the prospects
of a trade war.
    The International Monetary Fund said on Thursday that 
Trump's new tariffs threatened to undermine the global trading
system, would prompt retaliation by other countries and damaged
the U.S. economy.                              
    Global and U.S. equities have failed to revisit their record
highs despite some strong first-quarter profit reports, stoking
fears of a correction, which may benefit gold, Butler said.
    In other precious metals, silver        fell 2.2 percent to
$16,76 an ounce, a day after it hit its highest since April 19
at $17.32 an ounce. 
    The gold/silver ratio had moved sharply lower over the past
two weeks from 79.4 to 75.9 on Thursday, the lowest since last
November as silver has outperformed gold.
    The ratio bounced on Friday as investors took profits after
a strong run in silver," Butler said.
    Platinum        fell 0.6 percent to $894.60 an ounce and
palladium        shed 1.4 percent to $994 and was on course for
its first weekly decline in four.

 (Additional reporting by Karen Rodrigues and Swati Verma in
Bengaluru
Editing by Edmund Blair and David Evans)
  
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