Edition:
United States

Asha Sistla

PRECIOUS-Gold slips as dollar gains and China steps up virus countermeasures

Jan 22 2020

* China coronavirus death toll climbs to 9, total infections 440

PRECIOUS-Gold climbs to 2-week high as China flu scare spurs safe-haven bids

Jan 21 2020

Jan 21 Gold prices rose to a two-week high on Tuesday as the spread of a new virus in China stoked fears of a wider epidemic, sparking a sudden bout of risk aversion and sell-off in Asian stocks.

PRECIOUS-Gold gains on Yemen attacks, China Lunar New Year buying

Jan 20 2020

Jan 20 Gold prices rose to their highest in more than a week on Monday, after a missile attack in Yemen over the weekend fanned geopolitical concerns and boosted the metal's safe-haven appeal, while buying ahead of the Chinese New Year also lent support.

PRECIOUS-Gold firm but on track for biggest weekly fall in 2 months

Jan 17 2020

Jan 17 Gold prices edged higher on Friday but was on track to post its biggest weekly drop in two months as a long awaited U.S.-China Phase 1 trade deal fuelled risk appetite.

PRECIOUS-Gold dips to near 2-week low on solid China data, trade deal optimism

Jan 14 2020

(Updates prices) * U.S. removes currency manipulator label for China * China Dec exports, imports rise more than expected * Silver hits lowest level since late December By Asha Sistla Jan 14 Gold prices fell to their lowest in nearly two weeks on Tuesday as risk appetite was whetted by stronger-than-expected China economic data and the imminent signing of a preliminary U.S.-China trade deal. Spot gold slipped 0.4% to $1,541.81 per ounce by 0725 GMT. Earlier in the day, prices fell to their lowest since Jan. 3 at $1,535.63. U.S. gold futures dropped 0.5% to $1,542.40. Asian shares rallied amid signs of goodwill between the world's two top economies as they prepared to sign a truce in their 18-month-long tariff dispute that has upended the global economy. "It is mainly because of increased risk appetite and U.S. removing China's label as a currency manipulator that has greatly eased any economic tensions between these two countries," said Helen Lau, analyst at Argonaut Securities. Just a day before the Phase 1 trade deal signing, the U.S. Treasury on Monday dropped China's designation as a currency manipulator, signalling a further thawing of relations. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the Chinese translation of the deal was nearly done and would be made public prior to the signing ceremony on Wednesday. Meanwhile, a Reuters report said China has pledged to buy nearly an additional $80 billion of manufactured goods and over $50 billion more in energy supplies from the United States over the next two years. However, concerns remained that the trade war that has roiled global markets over the past one and a half years is not over. Data out of China showed exports rose for the first time in five months in December, while imports also surpassed expectations. Stronger-than-expected import and export numbers showed stabilisation of the Chinese economy - a very positive sign for global economic growth, Argonaut Securities' Lau said. Gold prices gained 18% last year mainly driven by the tariff dispute and its impact on the global economy. "With such strong global growth sentiment evident in markets around the world, and a lack of geopolitical tensions to give support, gold's price erosion is likely to continue," Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst, OANDA, said in a note. Spot gold may fall towards $1,524 per ounce, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao. Elsewhere, silver was down 1.2% to $17.76 per ounce, having hit its lowest since late December at $17.64 earlier in the session. Palladium was flat at $2,132.83 an ounce, while platinum fell 0.6% to $968.48. (Reporting by Asha Sistla in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

PRECIOUS-Gold slips as Asian equities rise ahead of Sino-U.S. trade deal

Jan 13 2020

(Updates prices) * U.S., China due to sign trade deal on Wednesday * SPDR Gold holdings fall to lowest since Sept. 16 on Friday * Gold specs raise bullish positions in week to Jan. 7 By Asha Sistla Jan 13 Gold prices fell on Monday as Asian stocks touched 19-month highs ahead of the planned signing of an interim trade deal between Washington and Beijing, which has encouraged investors to plough back into riskier assets. Spot gold dipped 0.6% to $1,552.42 per ounce by 0756 GMT. U.S. gold futures fell 0.4% to $1,553.30. Asian shares rose to new 19-month highs ahead of the Phase 1 deal due to be signed at the White House on Wednesday. "Risk (sentiment) looks pretty good in Asia, equity inflows are coming (along) nicely, built around this trade narrative and that's depressing gold more than the global risk-on move," said Stephen Innes, a market strategist at AxiTrader. "There is dollar appetite in the market ... which is also depressing gold right now." U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday China's commitments in the Phase 1 trade deal were not changed during a lengthy translation process and will be released this week. Further easing concerns, a Wall Street Journal report said on Saturday Washington and Beijing had agreed to semi-annual talks aimed at pushing for reforms in both countries and resolving disputes. Gold prices gained 18% last year on the backdrop of the protracted trade tussle between the world's top two economies. The dollar firmed ahead of the deal signing, making gold more expensive for buyers using other currencies. Gold prices gained nearly 0.7% last week in volatile trading amid heightened U.S.-Iran tensions after the U.S. killing of a top Iranian commander in Baghdad and on slower-than-expected U.S. job growth in December. The United States imposed more sanctions on Iran on Friday and vowed to tighten the economic screws if Tehran continued "terrorist" acts or pursued a nuclear bomb. "The precious metal, though easing off previous highs over de-escalating tensions (U.S.-Iran), will remain of key importance as markets stay cautious over geopolitical happenings in the current term," Benjamin Lu, an analyst at Phillip Futures, said in a note. Spot gold is biased to break a support at $1,546 per ounce and fall towards $1,524, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao. Holdings of the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust , fell 0.9% to 874.52 tonnes on Friday, their lowest since Sept. 16. Speculators increased their bullish positions in COMEX gold contracts in the week to Jan. 7. Elsewhere, palladium edged 0.1% lower to $2,116.54 an ounce. Silver was down 0.7% to $17.97, while platinum fell 0.8% to $970.55. (Reporting by Asha Sistla in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber, Subhranshu Sahu and Raju Gopalakrishnan)

PRECIOUS-Gold races to near 7-year peak after Iran strike on U.S. forces

Jan 08 2020

Jan 8 Gold surged more than 2% on Wednesday to break the $1,600 level for the first time in nearly seven years as investors flocked to safe havens after Iran launched retaliatory missile strikes against U.S. forces in Iraq.

PRECIOUS-Gold prices edge higher as U.S.-Iran tensions persist

Jan 07 2020

(Recasts; adds comment, details and updates prices) * No plans to pull troops out of Iraq: U.S. Defense Secretary * Palladium hits record high of $2,032.94 * SPDR Gold holdings rose to highest since Nov. 27 * Gold specs raise bullish positions in week to Dec. 31 By Asha Sistla Jan 7 Gold prices erased early losses and inched up on Tuesday, as fears of a widespread conflict between the United States and Iran persisted, while palladium scaled a new high. Spot gold rose 0.2% to $1,569.27 per ounce by 0741 GMT after falling as much as 0.7% earlier in the session, its biggest daily percentage decline in about a month. In the previous session, prices had touched $1,582.59, their highest since April 2013. U.S. gold futures edged 0.2% higher to $1,571.10. Warnings of new strikes and retaliation by both the United States and Iran stoked concerns about a broader Middle East conflict, which led to calls in the U.S. Congress for legislation to stop U.S. President Donald Trump going to war with Iran. "There's no escalation in the geopolitical situation, but the tensions have not receded completely and because of that after a good correction in gold, prices have bounced," said Jigar Trivedi, a commodities analyst at Anand Rathi Shares & Stock Brokers in Mumbai. The sentiment was also boosted after the United States denied a visa to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif that would have let him attend a United Nations Security Council meeting in New York on Thursday. Gold, considered a safe asset in times of political and economic uncertainty, had jumped in the last two sessions on concerns of a wider escalation after a U.S. air strike killed Iran's top military commander Qassem Soleimani last week. Markets were also worried about conflicting reports about American military repositioning troops in preparation for leaving Iraq. "If things de-escalate (with Iran), then gold will hit lower quite quickly. We would see it go down below $1,500," said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst for the Asia-Pacific region at OANDA. Holdings of the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust , rose 0.10% to 896.18 tonnes on Monday, their highest since Nov. 27. Speculators increased their bullish positions in COMEX gold and silver contracts in the week to Dec. 31, data showed. Elsewhere, spot palladium fell 0.3% to $2,024.86, off an all-time peak of $2,032.94 an ounce hit earlier in the session. The industrial metal, suffering from sustained supply woes, gained about 54% in 2019. Silver rose 0.3% to $18.19 an ounce, after touching a more than three-month high at $18.50 in the previous session, while platinum advanced 0.5% to $967.65. (Reporting by Asha Sistla in Bengaluru; Editing by Uttaresh.V and Rashmi Aich)

PRECIOUS-Gold rises to near 7-year high on U.S.-Iran conflict; palladium breaches $2,000

Jan 06 2020

(Updates prices) * Trump threatens sanctions against Iraq * Gold could test key $1,600/oz mark - analyst * Palladium hits record at $2,020.41/oz * Silver hits highest since Sept. 25 By Asha Sistla Jan 6 Gold surged close to a seven-year peak on Monday, as investors flocked to the safe-haven metal on escalating U.S.-Iran tensions, while palladium surpassed the level of $2,000 to hit a record high. Spot gold rose 1.4% to $1,572.59 per ounce by 0825 GMT. Earlier in the session, it had rallied as much as 1.8% to touch $1,579.72, its highest since April 10, 2013. U.S. gold futures gained 1.4% to $1,574.50. "The geopolitics is taking center-stage," said Benjamin Lu, an analyst at Phillip Futures. "The Iran-U.S. tensions have escalated to a boiling point, that's what has been pushing gold prices up." President Donald Trump threatened sanctions against Iraq on Sunday after Baghdad called for American and foreign troops to leave, amid a growing backlash over the U.S. killing of a top Iranian military commander, heightening fears of wider conflict. Further spurring uncertainty, Iran said it would drop limits on enriching uranium, taking a further step back from commitments to a 2015 nuclear deal with six major powers. The market's risk-averse sentiment underpinned bullion, which is often seen as an alternative investment during times of political and financial uncertainty. Asian equities moved away from an 18-month peak and oil prices soared on the intense Middle East hostility. "If it (gold) breaks the key resistance level of $1,585, it would lead to the key psychological level of $1,600," Lu said. Investors also took stock of a private survey on Monday that showed slower expansion in December in China's services sector, with business confidence falling to the second-lowest on record, despite a pick-up in new orders. Spot palladium hit an all-time peak of $2,020.41 an ounce earlier, and was last up 1.6% to $2,018.62. "The (palladium) market continues to tighten and that's what is pushing the market up," said ING analyst Warren Patterson, adding, "The key risk moving forward is how sustainable this price move is." Plagued by sustained supply deficit, palladium, used mainly in catalytic converters in vehicles, rose about 54% in 2019. Elsewhere, silver gained 1.7% to $18.33 an ounce, after touching a more than three month high at $18.50, while platinum advanced 0.4% to $984.83. (Reporting by Asha Sistla in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Louise Heavens)

PRECIOUS-Gold slips from 2-month high on profit-taking; eyes best week in 4 months

Dec 27 2019

(Updates prices and adds comments) * Bullion on track for best week in over four months * SPDR Gold holdings rise to highest since Nov. 29 * Silver poised for best week since late August By Asha Sistla Dec 27 Gold prices eased from a near two-month high hit earlier on Friday as investors booked profits amid thin trade in a holiday lull, but the metal was still on course for its biggest weekly gain since early August. Spot gold fell 0.2% to $1,508.92 per ounce by 0832 GMT. U.S. gold futures were flat at $1,513.70 per ounce. "It is the last trading day of the week and we are expecting some winding up of positions. We can't say fundamentals are responsible and it's just healthy profit-booking," said Vandana Bharti, assistant vice-president of commodity research at SMC Comtrade. Gold prices rose to their highest since early November at 1,513.88 earlier in the session and has gained over 2% so far this week, the most since Aug. 9. "It is a combination of things happening here - there's risk hedging in the market ahead of the year-end, we broke $1,485 which likely triggered stop-loss buying and pushed gold upto $1,500," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst, Asia Pacific at OANDA. Bullion is also on track to register its best year since 2010, gaining nearly 18% so far this year, owing to a 17-month-long tariff war between the world's top two economies. "Phase one deal is already done, but how it will materialise is a matter of concern. They have cancelled further imposition of import duty but they didn't talk about the tariffs already imposed on U.S. and China," SMC Comtrade's Bharti added. Meanwhile, news that Russia could consider a part-investment of its National Wealth Fund in gold prevented the precious metal from falling further. Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Tuesday he saw investment in the metal as more sustainable in the long-term than in financial assets. "If Russia starts holding gold, being one of the biggest suppliers to the market, that would significantly dampen supplies. This is a significant macro driver," said Stephen Innes, a market strategist at AxiTrader. Indicative of investor interest in bullion, holdings in the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust , rose 0.4% to 892.37 tonnes, its highest since Nov. 29. Elsewhere, silver fell 0.4% to $17.82 per ounce, but was on track for its best week since late August. Palladium advanced 0.5% to $1,910.28 per ounce, while platinum fell 0.1% to $946.21. (Reporting by Asha Sistla in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Subhranshu Sahu and Louise Heavens)

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