December 17, 2019 / 10:54 AM / a month ago

PRECIOUS-Palladium eases after record run towards $2,000

 (Adds comment, updates prices)
    * Palladium hits record high of $1,998.43/oz, up 56% for
2019
    * Gold steady as trade uncertainty lingers
    * GRAPHIC-2019 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl

    By Eileen Soreng
    Dec 17 (Reuters) - Palladium prices retreated on Tuesday as
investors booked profits from a record run that took the metal
to within striking distance of $2,000 an ounce for the first
time, with an interim U.S.-China trade deal driving prospects
for higher demand.
    Palladium        was down 0.8% at $1,962.58 an ounce at 1347
GMT, slipping from an all-time high of $1,998.43 hit earlier in
the session.
     "Supply is tight and when you're adding the speculation
about a potential pick-up in demand due to recovery in the
global economy, you have a perfect storm of bullish news
continuing to keep palladium supported," Saxo Bank analyst Ole
Hansen said, adding the move to the psychologically important
$2,000 level had prompted some profit-taking.
    However, he added: "Liquidity is poor, which means that if
we see a correction, it can be quite brutal and could take
palladium back down towards $1,850, although there are no signs
of that right now." 
    A phase one trade deal between the U.S. and China has been
"absolutely completed", a top White House adviser said on
Monday. However, Chinese officials have been more cautious,
saying the dispute has not been completely settled.             
    Palladium has risen about 56% in 2019 on a sustained supply
squeeze, and has been constantly breaking records despite a
weakening global auto sector.
    "We look set for an imminent test above $2,000," MKS PAMP
said in a note.
    Elsewhere, gold prices were steady amid uncertainty driven
by a lack of concrete details about the interim trade deal.
    Spot gold        and gold futures         were at $1,476.59
per ounce and $1,481.10, respectively.
    The trade dispute will be an influencing factor for gold
throughout next year, said Commerzbank analyst Daniel
Briesemann, adding a phase two deal would be much more difficult
since a lot of critical issues had been left out of the current
agreement.      
    "We must be prepared for some volatility and uncertainty.
It's not yet a done deal."
    Gold, considered a safe investment during political and
economic uncertainty, has gained about 15% this year, mainly
driven by the 17-month-long tariff war and its impact on the
global economy.
    Also supporting bullion, European stocks slid from record
highs on reports that Britain's prime minister was ready to play
rough in Brexit talks, souring sentiment after a record rally
during the Asian session.            
    Silver        was little changed at $17.02 per ounce, while
platinum        fell 0.1% to $928.31.

 (Reporting by Eileen Soreng and Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru;
Editing by Pravin Char, Kirsten Donovan)
  
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