Gold settles higher as dollar waivers


Gold broke its four day losing streak on Wednesday, settling higher as a dollar rally wavered, increasing the precious metal's appeal as a safe asset.

Asian shares made their first real rally of the year after better than expected Chinese trade data, which offered some rare optimism for the global economy.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 5.64 percent after four declining sessions, which would conventionally have driven down gold prices.

Spot gold was up 0.47 percent at $1,091.86 an ounce, while U.S. gold futures were last trading at $1091.76, up 0.46 percent. Gold futures settled at $1,087.10, up $1.90.

"There is a tendency for gold prices to rise in the first few weeks of the year," said analyst Georgette Boele at ABN Amro.

"But pressure will come back ... and when wider markets get sold, you'd better buy the dollar, which is much more liquid than gold."

Gold rallied to a nine-week top of $1,112 last week, but expectations of further U.S. interest rate increases lowered demand for the non-interest-paying metal while boosting the dollar.

The Federal Reserve raised rates in December and attention has shifted to how many increases will follow in 2016.

The dollar and risk-sensitive currencies had recovered ground against the yen and the euro after China's central bank held the yuan steady and better than expected Chinese trade data helped to reduce some of the bearishness toward the world's second-largest economy.

But with Chinese economic growth slowing and its stock markets still vulnerable, analysts see it as unlikely that gold will lose too much ground.

"It doesn't mean it's all over; the market is pretty short and a lot of the uncertainty about the global economy has not been resolved," Macquarie's Turner said.

Holdings of the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, New York-listed SPDR Gold Shares, rose 2.1 tonnes on Monday, data from the fund showed.

China launched interbank gold trading at the beginning of this year as part of a broader drive to open up the country's bullion market and increase financial investment in the world's largest consumer of the precious metal.

Among other precious metals, palladium rose 3.09 percent to $484.30 an ounce after sliding to a 5-1/2-year low of $449.55 on Tuesday.

Silver gained 2.79 percent to $14.14 an ounce, while platinum was up 1.2 percent at $848.30.