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Futures & Commodities

Gold trades near 3-month peak as bets on US rate cut grow

Gold bars at the Austrian Gold and Silver Separating Plant in Vienna, Austria.
Leonhard Foeger | Reuters

Gold on Tuesday steadied below a three-month peak on news China was open to negotiating a resolution of its trade dispute with the United States, while rising expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will cut interest rates provided underlying support.

China's commerce ministry on Tuesday urged dialogue and negotiation to solve trade differences with the United States.

Spot gold was steady at $1,325.29 per ounce, after touching its highest since Feb. 27 at $1,328.98 earlier in the session.

U.S. gold futures settled $0.80 higher at $1,328.70. 

"Headlines have come up saying U.S.-China trade dispute can be negotiated over talks which is pushing gold down," said Afshin Nabavi, senior vice president at MKS SA.

"The metal will seek support at around $1,316 and we will mostly see it going up again from there."

Gold has climbed over 4% since a one-week low of $1,274.44 an ounce touched last week mainly on the back of escalating trade tensions and expectations that U.S. Fed would cut interest rates to offset the impact of the U.S.-China trade war.

The Fed will respond "as appropriate" to the risks posed by a global trade war and other recent developments, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said on Tuesday in remarks that seemed to open the door to the possibility of a rate cut.

Lower interest rates cut the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding commodities, while gold also tends to benefit from growth concerns as an alternative to cyclical assets like stocks.

The trade dispute has roiled financial markets, sending investors scurrying for safe-haven assets like gold.

"A surge in safe-haven demand has been observed over the past few days because no-one expected the United States to open a new trade war front with Mexico after China," said Jigar Trivedi, a commodities analyst at Mumbai-based Anand Rathi Shares & Stock Brokers.

"Safe-haven buying was also seen because manufacturing data from China and the euro zone were seen as a cause of concern."

Reflecting higher investor interest in bullion, holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 2.2% on Monday, its biggest one-day percentage gain since July 2016.

In other precious metals, silver rose 0.2% to $14.80 per ounce, having touched a more than three-week high of $14.84.

Platinum edged 0.2% higher to $822.05 per ounce after hitting a two-week high of $825.78. The metal had marked its biggest intra-day percentage gain in 2-1/2 years on Monday.

Palladium was jumped 1.9% to $1,348.50 per ounce.