Gold prices surged to a one-month high on Friday as the threat of a global trade war sent investors scrambling for safe assets.
Spot gold was up 1.38 percent at $1,346.90 an ounce by 4:15 p.m. EST, having hit its highest since Feb. 20 at $1,343.06. U.S. gold futures for April delivery settled up $22.50, or 1.7 percent, at $1,349.90 per ounce.
U.S. President Donald Trump signed a memorandum on Thursday that could impose tariffs on up to $60 billion of imports from China, prompting Beijing to urge the United States to "pull back from the brink."
The tariffs have a 30-day consultation period, leaving room for compromise, but investors fear a trade war between the world's two largest economies could develop with potentially dire consequences for global growth.
Global markets were further rattled by Trump's appointment of John Bolton as National Security Advisor. Bolton has previously advocated using military force against North Korea and Iran.
World stock markets, the U.S. dollar and U.S. bond yields all fell. "Risk aversion is currently the name of the game in financial markets," said Peter Fertig, analyst at Quantitative Commodity Research. "Markets are looking for safe havens."