April 20, 2018 / 1:26 AM / a year ago

Gold slips on U.S. rate rise view, easing global tensions

NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) - Gold prices eased on Friday and were on track to end the week lower as the dollar advanced on expectations of higher U.S. interest rates and market players grew a bit less worried about global political and security risks.

FILE PHOTO: Gold bullions are displayed at GoldSilver Central's office in Singapore June 19, 2017. Picture taken June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

Spot gold lost 0.6 percent at $1,336.96 per ounce by 1:36 p.m. EDT (1736 GMT), while U.S. gold June futures settled down $10.50, or 0.8 percent, at $1,338.30. Spot gold was headed for a weekly decline of nearly 1 percent.

Investors were less jittery about geopolitical tensions that had supported gold prices earlier in the week, notably Syria and North Korea.

“Of course, the geopolitical risks are still high compared to the beginning of the year but it seems like they are slightly lower than a few days ago so prices have come off the boiler a bit,” Capital Economics commodities economist Simona Gambarini said.

Gold is often used as safe haven in times of uncertainty.

Also pressuring bullion, a U.S. central banker said the Federal Reserve should keep raising interest rates this year and next to keep the economy from overheating and financial stability risks from rising.

Higher rates dent the appeal of non-interest yielding bullion while lifting the dollar, in which it is priced.

The dollar index gained against a basket of major currencies.

Investors were also relieved that no new U.S. demands on trade came out of a summit between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Trump.

“Gold is really in a $1,300-$1,360 trading range,” said Bill O’Neill, partner at Logic Advisors. “Gold is just in a wait and see pattern now. It’s clearly not capable of really floating up.”

Meanwhile, spot silver lost 0.5 percent at $17.13 per ounce, but up more than 3 percent for the week.

Platinum fell 0.6 percent at $927.40 per ounce, on track for a 0.6 percent weekly decline.

Palladium added 1.1 percent at $1,036.50 per ounce ending the week nearly 5 percent higher.

It recently rose as concerns that supply from No. 1 producer Russia could be disrupted by U.S. sanctions fed into a strong technical rebound following the metal’s 20 percent fall from its January record high.

“We do not envisage palladium being affected by any sanctions because the United States would shoot itself in the foot by doing so,” Commerzbank said, adding the country was a large palladium importer.

Additional reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; editing by David Gregorio and Louise Ireland

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