Futures & Commodities

Gold holds steady near two-month peak in slow year-end trading

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Gold steadied after rising to its highest in nearly two months earlier on Friday, as investors cautiously adjusted their positions in thin year-end trading, but the metal was still on path for its best week in more than four months.

Spot gold was little changed at $1,510.51 per ounce. Gold rose to its highest since early November at $1,513.88 earlier in the session, but pared gains as traders took profits. It has gained over 2% so far this week, the most since the week of Aug. 9.

"At the end of this year and beginning of the next, a lot of investors will take and quit their positions in gold, keeping it kind of steady," said Frederic Panizzutti, managing director at MKS Dubai."We expect gold prices to be supported by ongoing U.S.-China trade war, geo-political tensions and very low interest rate environment. Central banks are on the buying side and that is not expected to change next year as well."

Gold has rallied this year on the back of the long-drawn U.S.-China trade war that triggered fears of a global economic slowdown and helped the safe-haven metal gain over 17% so far this year.

As 2020 approaches, uncertainty is expected to remain high with unresolved U.S.-China trade issues, Brexit and upcoming U.S. Presidential elections.

"With the given uncertainties, $1,500 is quite a good pivot level for gold. If and when the phase one (trade) deal goes through, we might see gold breaking that level and trade in the $1,400s, but only for a short period of time," MKS' Panizzutti said.

Meanwhile, news that Russia could consider a part-investment of its National Wealth Fund in gold provided some further support to the yellow-metal.

"If Russia starts holding gold, being one of the biggest suppliers to the market, that would significantly dampen supplies. This is a significant macro driver," said Stephen Innes, a market strategist at AxiTrader.

Indicative of investor interest in bullion, holdings in the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, rose 0.4% to 892.37 tonnes, its highest since Nov. 29.

Elsewhere, silver fell 0.2% to $17.85 per ounce, while platinum rose 0.4% to $950.50. Both the metals were poised to register their best week since late August.

Palladium advanced 0.4% to $1,908.58 per ounce.