×

Gold slips as markets await US health care vote

Gold coins
Getty Images

Gold was on track for a second weekly gain on Friday as concern about the ability of U.S. President Donald Trump to push legislation through Congress held the dollar near 7-week lows, making bullion cheaper for holders of other currencies.

Spot gold was up 0.29 percent at $1,248.36 per ounce. On Thursday, it touched its strongest since Feb. 28 at $1,253.12. The yellow metal was on track for its second straight week of gains.

U.S. gold futures were up $1.30 to settle at $1,248.50.

Gold, seen as a safe-haven asset, has benefited from falls in the dollar, U.S. bond yields and stocks as Trump's difficulty in passing healthcare reform has undermined faith that he can deliver on promises of tax cuts and investment.

Trump has set up a showdown with lawmakers by demanding support for the healthcare bill in a do-or-die vote on Friday.

"This is a key event not just for gold but for all risk assets," said Robin Bhar at Societe Generale.

"We should see some safe haven flows into gold if he can't get it passed because it means all his other programs have a low probability of succeeding," he said.

Failure to pass the bill could push gold through technical resistance at around $1,250.
"If the market can consolidate above $1,250 in the coming

"If the market can consolidate above $1,250 in the coming days we could see an attempt at the 200-day moving average of $1259.50," said Tim Brown at MKS PAMP in a note.

Away from Congress, focus could move to the U.S. Federal Reserve. Three Fed officials, Charles Evans, James Bullard and William Dudley, are due to speak on Friday.

Gold prices have been supported by expectations that the Fed will raise interest rates more slowly than some had feared.

Higher rates tend to pressure gold by lifting the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion and boosting the dollar, in which gold is priced.

Bullard said on Friday that just one more rate hike this year would be appropriate following a rise earlier this month, but that he would not fight a second one. Dudley said that "delicate" policy changes were necessary.

Spot silver gained 0.74 percent to $17.67 an ounce, while platinum was up 0.44 percent to $962.75.

Palladium rose 1.44percent to $810.

The metal used in catalytic converters that curb pollution from vehicle exhausts has risen over 4 percent this week thanks to strong economic data and demand from the automobile sector.