Futures & Commodities

Gold dips to near 2-wk low as trade war jitters boost dollar

Gold prices fell on Tuesday as concerns about a further escalation in the U.S.-China trade war boosted the U.S. dollar, eroding bullion's appeal as it tested key technical support.

Spot gold was down 0.47 percent to $1,223.61 per ounce, having touched $1,219.37, its lowest since Oct. 18. U.S. gold futures settled at $1,225.30 an ounce.

The dollar climbed to a 2-1/2-month high, supported by worries about an escalation of the U.S.-China trade war.

"Gold is not behaving as a safe-haven amidst news of the tariffs," said Walter Pehowich, executive vice president of investment services at Dillon Gage Metals.

"As long as the dollar continues to stay up at these levels or go higher, gold will be under pressure. We are now in the $1,215- $1,235 trading range. That's the levels we expect gold to stay in until the mid-term elections."

The midterm elections in the United States next week will determine which party controls the U.S. Congress.

Gold prices have slipped around 10 percent from their April peak as investors turned to the dollar as a safe-haven while the trade war unfolded against a background of higher U.S. interest rates.

A firmer dollar makes gold more expensive for holders of other currencies, while rising U.S. interest rates boost the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

On the technical front, gold was testing support at the 100-day moving average around $1,220.

"If we drop back below the 100-day moving average, speculators could be inclined to add short positions again after they slashed them massively in the last 2-3 trading weeks. There could be risk that we could drop towards $1,200 again," said Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch.

Wall Street bank Goldman Sachs said gold could find support from prospects of slowing U.S. growth and a pick up in core inflation.

Gold prices have gained about 2.8 percent this month, on track to break a six-month losing streak, the longest since a downturn from August 1996 through January 1997.

Investors' inclination towards gold can be seen in the holdings of the largest gold-backed exchange-traded-fund (ETF), New York's SPDR Gold Trust, which rose to their highest in two months, at 24.27 million ounces, on Monday.

In other precious metals, silver was up 0.21 percent to $14.48 per ounce, after slipping to a near three-week low of $14.33.

Platinum rose 0.49 percent at $836.10, and palladium fell 1.08 percent to $1,076.70.

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