Futures & Commodities

Gold eases on US-China trade optimism; holds above $1,400

Edgar Su | Reuters

Gold inched lower on Thursday as renewed hopes that the United States and China could soon end their protracted trade tussle bolstered risk appetite and lifted the dollar, but the metal held on to support around the key $1,400 pivot.

Spot gold fell 0.1% to $1,407.21 per ounce, having briefly dipped below $1,400 earlier in the session. Prices have fallen more than $37 since gold's six-year high of $1,438.63 on Tuesday. U.S. gold futures fell $3.40 to $1,412.0 per ounce.

"We are still in a bullish momentum for gold with a couple of days of consolidation ... (We are seeing) a little pull-back on profit taking," said Phillip Streible, senior commodities strategist at RJO Futures, adding a stronger dollar and equities were weighing on bullion.

"People are fearful of giving up their whole gains (in gold)."

The South China Morning Post (SCMP), citing sources, said Washington and Beijing were laying out an agreement that would help avert the next round of tariffs on an additional $300 billion of Chinese imports.

This comes after U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday a trade deal was possible this weekend, though he was prepared to impose tariffs on all remaining Chinese imports if talks fail.

This was enough to lift equities, with MSCI's broadest index of world shares up over 0.2% after four straight days of losses.

The dollar, too, eked out gains following days of weakness as comments from Fed officials on Wednesday signalled aggressive interest rate cuts were unlikely in its July meeting.

Futures are 100% priced for a cut of 25 basis points next month, and imply a 22% chance of 50 basis points.

Higher interest rates boost the dollar, making dollar-denominated gold more expensive for buyers using other currencies, and they reduce investor interest in non-yielding bullion.

Spot gold may stabilise around a support at $1,404 per ounce, and bounce toward a resistance at $1,421, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

"Gold was heavily overbought after this run towards $1,450 and a correction has ensued," said Rhona O'Connell, an analyst with INTL FCStone.

"The rally does not imply panic in other financial sectors, but that the markets are taking notice of potential economic, financial and political risks and the fact that gold enhances risk-adjusted returns."