Gold climbs on global growth worries; strong dollar caps gains

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Gold prices edged higher on Thursday, helped by concerns over the U.S.-China trade dispute and its potential impact on global growth.

Spot gold rose 0.33 percent to $1,310.08 an ounce at 1:10 p.m. ET after touching its lowest since Jan. 29 at $1,302.11.

U.S. gold futures were down 0.05 percent at $1,313.80.

CNBC reported U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are unlikely to meet before March 2, the deadline the countries set for reaching a trade deal.

"Uncertainty over U.S.China trade relations and the potential for another U.S. government shutdown continue to underpin interest toward $1,300 and should see supportive price action remain over the near term," MKS PAMP Group said in a note.

A firmer dollar makes bullion more expensive for holders of other currencies. The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against major currencies, was on course for a sixth session of gains and trading close to a two-week high.

"There is still a lot of uncertainty in the market and that is keeping gold above $1,300," said Miguel Perez-Santalla, vice president of Heraeus Metal Management in New York, adding that a strong dollar has been keeping bullion from going any higher.

U.S. unemployment benefits dropped from near a 1-1/2-year high last week to 234,000, while economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims falling to 221,000.

Gold rose to its highest since late April last week after the U.S. Federal Reserve kept interest rates steady, but it has since lost ground as the dollar has firmed.

Mounting global growth worries dragged on equity markets. The extent of the current global slowdown was highlighted after India cut interest rates unexpectedly and data showed Germany's economy slowed in December, strengthening fears of a broader slump in Europe.

Gold denominated in euros climbed to a fresh high during the day, hitting its highest since early May 2017, at 1,157.37 euros per ounce.

"We believe that gold should remain in good demand after all, the political risks appear to be increasing again," Commerzbank said in a note.

Among other precious metals, palladium gained 0.87 percent to $1,384.50 an ounce, silver rose 0.19 percent at $15.69 and platinum was down 1.49 percent at $791 after touching its lowest since Jan. 24.