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Futures & Commodities

Gold firm on fragile risk-sentiment, buoyant dollar caps gains

Key Points
  • Spot gold was up 0.3 percent at $1,283.40 an ounce at 12:48 p.m. ET.
  • Dollar stands near 2-week highs.
  • Palladium below record highs touched last week.
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Gold held firm on Tuesday, propped by interest from investors seeking refuge from concerns over slowing global growth, while gains for the metal were limited as the dollar held near a multi-week peak.

Spot gold was up 0.42 percent at $1,284.94 an ounce at 1:50 p.m. ET, recovering from a dip on Monday to its lowest since Dec. 28 at $1,276.31.

U.S. gold futures settled $0.80 higher at $1,283.40.

"There is a little bit of flight to safety, stocks are lower right now, but the fact that the dollar is a little stronger is keeping gold under wraps," said Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at RJO Futures.

Risk-sentiment was dealt a blow when the International Monetary Fund flagged concerns about a dilapidating global economy on Monday, after data from China showed that the country registered its slowest growth rate in three decades, thereby driving down global stocks.

In its World Economic Outlook report, the IMF predicted that the global economy would grow at 3.5 percent in 2019 and 3.6 percent in 2020, down 0.2 and 0.1 percentage points respectively from last October's forecasts.

The news sparked strength in the dollar, which also gained from safe-haven flows, keeping the greenback close to a near three-week high hit earlier in the session, making gold costlier for holders of other currencies.

A trade spat between the United States and China had seen investors choosing the dollar as a safe-haven investment over gold, last year.

Therefore, the key in this competition for safe-haven allure between the metal and the currency will be the state of the U.S. interest rates, Haberkorn said.

"The March (FOMC) meeting is going to be pivotal for the gold market."

Federal Reserve officials meanwhile, have left little doubt that they want to stop raising interest rates, at least for a while. Higher interest rates tend to reduce appetite for non-yielding bullion.

Also supporting gold markets are uncertainties surrounding Britain's plans to leave the European Union, and the longest government shutdown in the history of the U.S.

On the technical front, "gold remains in a bullish channel on the daily charts", FXTM research analyst Lukman Otunuga said in a note. "An intraday breakout above $1,286 is likely to open a path towards $1,295 and $1,300."

Elsewhere, palladium, which hit a record high of $1,434.50 last week on a sustained deficit and rising demand, was on track for a third session of declines, shedding about 1.14 percent to $1,346. It earlier touched $1,331, its lowest since Jan. 16.

Silver rose 0.81 percent to $15.34 an ounce while platinum fell by 0.38 percent to $788 having touched its lowest since Jan. 2 at $782.