Futures & Commodities

Gold steady as markets crave trade details, palladium nears $2,000/oz

Key Points
  • Spot gold was little changed at $1,476.24 per ounce by 0420 GMT.
  • U.S. gold futures were flat at $1,480.90.
Gold anodes sit stacked in a vault at the Perth Mint Refinery in Perth, Australia, on August 9, 2018.
Carla Gottgens | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Gold prices were range bound on Tuesday, as lack of concrete details about the interim U.S.-China trade deal kept investors from making firm bets, while palladium was just $2 away from surpassing key $2,000 per ounce level for the first time.

Spot gold was little changed at $1,476.24 per ounce by 0420 GMT. U.S. gold futures were flat at $1,480.90.

Palladium rose 0.9% to $1,995.87 an ounce, after scaling an all-time peak of $1,998.

"The trade situation is improving... but the weaker dollar is counter balancing that. So, we're seeing tight ranges for gold prices with these two factors running in opposite directions," said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.

The dollar index was little changed after posting losses in the previous two sessions, making gold cheaper for holders of other currencies.

Investors are keen to know more about the preliminary trade deal struck between United States and China last week.

"There is a real risk that when it comes to the actual (deal) document, we could see some market disappointment and that of course would be supportive for gold," McCarthy added.

The "Phase One" trade deal has been "absolutely completed," a top White House adviser said on Monday. However, Chinese officials have been more cautious, emphasizing that the trade dispute has not been completely settled.

Gold, considered a safe investment in times of political and economic uncertainty, has gained about 15% this year, mainly driven by the 17-month-long tariff war and its impact on the global economy.

Capping bullion's advance, Asian shares rose to their highest in more than a year on trade deal optimism.

Among other precious metals, palladium, used mainly in catalytic converters in vehicles, has gained about 58% so far this year on sustained supply crunch.

"Supply concerns have kept the metal buoyant, and underlying demand appears to be in good shape still on pull-backs," MKS PAMP said in a note.

"We look set for an imminent test above $2,000, but we feel there will be some good supply above there from the spec community (speculators)."

Silver rose 0.1% to $17.05 per ounce, while platinum was unchanged at $929.46.