Gold steady as investors await fresh move in US-China trade spat

Gold prices were little changed in Asian trade on Monday as investors awaited developments on the simmering trade spat between the United States and China.

Spot gold was down 0.1 per cent at $ 1,331.83 an ounce as of 0700 GMT, and US gold futures were nearly unchanged at $ 1,335.70 an ounce.

“We’ve had certain comments from the United States about trade conflict over the last week and this weekend. The market is being dismissive about those issues until they see any real impact on the ground,” said ANZ analyst Daniel Hynes, adding there was a little bit of a sell-off in the gold market as a consequence.

US President Donald Trump predicted on Sunday that China would take down its trade barriers, expressing optimism despite escalating trade tensions between the two nations.

Trump late on Thursday threatened to slap $ 100 billion more in tariffs on Chinese imports, while Beijing said it was fully prepared to respond with a “fierce counter strike”.

“I think the market is getting numb with the current trade war news. It is really hard to judge on sentiment as there is no way to know beforehand as to how the trade war evolves,” said Samson Li, an analyst with Thomson Reuters GFMS.

“Both parties may say something new every day. However, in the near-term, we should be wary to the downside actually.”

Elsewhere, easing tensions between the United States and North Korea dampened the appeal of gold, which is often used as a store of value during times of financial or political uncertainty.

North Korea has told the United States for the first time that it is prepared to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula when their leaders meet.

The dollar steadied on Monday, having retreated late last week due to concerns over US-China trade tensions and following data that showed the US economy created the fewest jobs in six months in March.

However, a pickup in wage gains pointed to a tightening labour market, which should allow the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates further this year.

Higher interest rates discourage the buying of non-interest-paying bullion, which is priced in dollars.

Hedge funds and money managers slashed their net long position in COMEX gold in the week to April 3 and boosted their net short position in silver to a record, US Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed on Friday.

Spot silver climbed 0.2 per cent to $ 16.38 per ounce and platinum rose 0.5 per cent to $ 916.74 per ounce.

Palladium gained 0.6 per cent to $ 905.50 an ounce after hitting $ 895.47 on Friday, its lowest since mid-August 2017.