Futures & Commodities

Gold dips as US-China trade deal hopes lift risk appetite

Gold Coins and Credit Suisse gold bar
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Gold dipped to a more than five-week low on Monday as optimism about a possible trade deal between the United States and China helped whet risk appetite, while platinum shed 3 percent.

The world's two largest economies appeared close to a deal that would roll back U.S. tariffs on at least $200 billion worth of Chinese goods and possibly end their long-drawn trade spat, a source briefed on negotiations said on Sunday.

Spot gold was down 0.42 percent at $1,287.84 per ounce at 1:57 p.m. EST, after falling to $1,282.50 earlier in the session, its lowest since Jan. 25.

The precious metal slipped below a key level of $1,300 on Friday.

Meanwhile, U.S. gold futures settled $11.70 lower at $1,287.50 per ounce.

"There is a risk-on (sentiment) in the markets with the positive U.S.-China talk, so gold is naturally pulling back on strong equities, strong dollar and good geopolitical news," said Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at RJO Futures.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping could reach a formal trade deal at a summit around March 27, given progress in talks between the two countries, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

Global markets cheered the news, indicating improved demand for riskier assets, and then fell more than 250 points as Wall Street digested weak U.S. economic data.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of other currencies, was at a 10-day high, with rising U.S. Treasury yields translating into more demand for the currency.

"It seems that investors' appetite for gold has suddenly vanished," ActivTrades chief analyst Carlo Alberto De Casa said in a note. "From a technical point of view, the fall below $1,300 is making space for further declines.

Indicative of sentiment, holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 1.5 percent on Friday, their biggest one-day percentage fall since December 2016.

Amongst other precious metals, platinum shed 2.23 percent to $838.25 an ounce while palladium was down about 1 percent at $1,528.74 per ounce.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch lifted its forecast for palladium, expecting it to hit a key $2,000 level this year. The bank said it expects platinum prices to average $883 for the same period.

Earlier in the session, palladium rose to $1,560, within striking distance of an all-time peak of $1,565.09 scaled on Feb. 26 due to a sustained deficit for the autocatalyst metal.

Silver declined to a more than two-month low of $15.02 an ounce, and last traded 0.69 percent lower at $15.09.