Gold prices edge lower as U.S.-EU trade tension abates

LONDON (Reuters) - Gold edged lower on Thursday under pressure from a stronger dollar and in response to an easing of trade tensions after the United States agreed to refrain from imposing tariffs on cars from the European Union.

Gold jewellery is seen displayed for sale at a shop in a gold market in Basra, southeast of Baghdad February 14, 2015. REUTERS/ Essam Al-Sudani/Files

The two sides will also begin talks to cut other trade barriers, they announced on Wednesday following a meeting at the White House.

Gold usually loses ground to riskier assets such as stocks when global financial and political worries fade.

Spot gold slipped 0.4 percent to $1,228.33 per ounce by 1220 GMT, after it rose 0.6 percent on Wednesday. Earlier in the session, the metal hit $1,235.16, its highest in more than a week.

U.S. gold futures for August delivery were 0.3 percent lower at $1,228.10 an ounce.

“The rise is partially to do with the news that Trump and the EU called a ceasefire on the trade war and a halt on auto tariffs,” said Natixis precious metals analyst Bernard Dahdah.

“But gold has been dropping since April so there is a bigger story behind this fall rather than just the EU-US story at the moment.”

Gold is currently trading about 10 percent off its April high due to pressure from a stronger dollar, which has risen around 5 percent in that time.

The U.S. currency rose 0.2 percent on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the MSCI world equity index rose to its highest since March, signaling investor demand for higher risk assets. [MKTS/GLOB]

“The euro recovery against the greenback has also failed to lift bullion, confirming that there is little investor appetite for the precious metal at this time,” said ActivTrades chief analyst Carlo Alberto De Casa.

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank reaffirmed that it will end its stimulus program this year, saying the risks from an unpredictable global trade conflict didn’t warrant any deviation from its plan.

Investors are also watching out for second-quarter U.S. economic growth data, which is expected on Friday.

Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund fell 0.29 percent to 800.20 tonnes on Wednesday. [GOL/ETF]

Among other precious metals, silver edged 0.5 percent lower to $15.47 an ounce, after earlier hitting its highest since July 17 at $15.67 an ounce.

Palladium dropped 1 percent to $930 an ounce. It touched an over one-week high at $941.10 in the previous session.

Platinum was down 1.6 percent at $828 an ounce.

Additional reporting by Karen Rodrigues in Bengaluru; Editing by Jan Harvey and Elaine Hardcastle