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Futures & Commodities

Gold eyes weekly gain as dollar eases, bets for Fed rate cut grow

Edgar Su | Reuters

Gold steadied on Friday, after rising more than 1% in the previous session en route to a weekly gain, propped up by a weaker dollar and expectations for a U.S. interest rate cut, offsetting pressure from a rebound in equities.

Spot gold was little changed at $1,283.58 per ounce. Prices rose as much as 1.1% to a one-week peak of 1,287.23 on Thursday. The metal has risen about 0.5% so far this week.

U.S. gold futures settled $1.80 lower at $1,283.60.

Underpinning gold, the dollar moved away from two-year highs after weak U.S. durable goods data and manufacturing activity data ignited worries that the trade conflict with China may hurt the world's largest economy.

"We had durable goods number that missed expectations. Typically, gold would rally on the news like that, but right now equities are trading higher, which is pressuring gold prices," said Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at RJO Futures.

Financial markets around the world rose after comments from U.S. President Donald Trump drove hopes of progress in U.S.-China trade talks.

"It is hard trade grinds, especially when capital can be deployed to trade other things," said Tai Wong, head of base and precious metals derivatives trading at BMO.

Escalating trade tensions and weak data have fueled rate cut expectations from the U.S. Federal Reserve, analysts said. Lower interest rates tend to support gold since it reduces the opportunity cost of holding the non-yielding asset.

Four Fed officials on Thursday said the protracted trade spat is creating uncertainties for businesses and could threaten economic growth.

"The Fed is on hold and the market thinks the likely next move will be a cut deep into a long expansion. You would need the Fed to clearly look to cut to stir it up, and for a major rally (in gold), you'd need more quantitative easing," BMO's Wong said.

On the technical front, spot gold may break a resistance at $1,286 and edge up to the next resistance at $1,290, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

Among other precious metals, silver fell 0.5% to $14.51 per ounce, while palladium rose 1.1% to $1,324.50. Palladium was on track for a 1% weekly gain, its first in four weeks.

Platinum gained 0.8% to $800.05 an ounce, having touched its lowest since Feb. 15 at $791 in the previous session, putting it on track for its fifth straight weekly loss.