Gold wavers on steady dollar, but political tensions support

Key Points
  • Gold prices wavered after the bullion hit a one-week low and posted its biggest one-day percentage fall in nearly 9 months in the last session.
  • Concerns about the global trade war have eased, but markets were still focused on potential developments.

Gold prices wavered Thursday as the dollar held its strong gains from the previous session, but simmering tensions over Russia and a potential trade war offered support.

Gold posted its biggest one-day percentage fall in nearly nine months on Wednesday after robust U.S. data lifted the dollar, which steadied at those strong levels on Thursday.

Spot gold was up 0.06 percent at $1,325.44 per ounce by 3:54 p.m. EST, after hitting a low of $1,322.50 earlier in the session, its lowest since March 21. U.S. gold futures for April delivery settled down $2.70, or 0.2 percent, at $1,327.30 per ounce.

Spot gold dropped 1.5 percent on Wednesday, the biggest one-day percentage decline since July 3, 2017. "I don't see gold falling much further from here given the continued geopolitical tensions," said Carsten Fritsch, commodity analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.

"There was an easing of tensions in the Far East regarding North Korea, but there's still tension between the West and Russia... this can boil over again and support gold."

North and South Korea will hold their first summit in more than a decade on April 27, South Korean officials said on Thursday, after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged his commitment to denuclearization as tensions ease between the old foes.

But Moscow has threatened to take retaliatory action after the United States and other Western countries expelled more than 100 Russian diplomats over the poisoning of Russian former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England with a military-grade nerve toxin.

Concerns about a global trade war have eased but that does not mean it is over, said Brian Lan, managing director at dealer GoldSilver Central in Singapore.

Gold, often seen as an alternative investment during times of political and financial uncertainty, was on track for a third straight quarter of gains, having risen nearly 2 percent so far.

In other precious metals, spot silver rose up 0.22 percent to $16.27 per ounce after falling to $16.20, its lowest in one week. Silver was on track to post its worst quarter in three.

Platinum ticked down 0.09 percent to $930.70 per ounce, after hitting a near three-month low in the previous session. The metal was down about 5 percent so far this month, on course to post its worst month since September.

Palladium, fell 2.2 percent to $944.72 an ounce, was set to fall over 7 percent this month, the steepest drop since December 2016. For the quarter, the metal is down more than 8 percent so far, its worst since the quarter ended December 2015.