August 6, 2019 / 4:58 AM / 15 days ago

Gold climbs back toward six-year peak on U.S.-China trade clash

(Reuters) - Gold prices strengthened on Tuesday, consolidating near the highest in more than six years as an intensifying U.S.-China trade war threatened global economic growth.

FILE PHOTO: Gold bullion is displayed at Hatton Garden Metals precious metal dealers in London, Britain July 21, 2015. REUTERS/Neil Hall/File Photo

Spot gold XAU= rose 0.5% to $1,470.96 an ounce as of 2:08 p.m. EDT (1808 GMT), after hitting $1,474.81, the highest since May 2013. The previous session, gold jumped as much as 2%.

U.S. gold futures GCcv1 settled up 0.52% at $1,484.20.

“There is a great deal of uncertainty in terms of economic growth especially concerning U.S.-China trade frictions. Given the increased volatility in U.S. and global stock markets, gold is receiving support as result of that,” said Jeff Klearman, portfolio manager at GraniteShares.

A rout in global markets eased as China kept the yuan on a tight leash a day after letting it weaken past 7 to the dollar. This led the United States to label Beijing a currency manipulator, a decision that China’s central bank said would “severely damage international financial order and cause chaos in financial markets.” [MKTS/GLOB]

Influential Wall Street bank Goldman Sachs said it no longer expects Washington and Beijing to agree on a truce to end their prolonged trade dispute before the November 2020 presidential election.

“Many market watchers now reckon the U.S.-China trade war being ratcheted up another notch will prompt the Federal Reserve to again lower U.S. interest rates soon,” Jim Wyckoff, senior analyst with Kitco Metals, wrote in a note.

“Speeches by Federal Reserve officials in the coming days will garner extra scrutiny from the marketplace.”

St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard on Tuesday said Fed does not need to “pile on” interest rate cuts at a time when the economy continues to grow and is still adjusting to the looser monetary policy set by the Fed this year.

The U.S. central bank last week cut interest rates for the first time since the financial crisis in 2008. Lower rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding bullion, which yields no interest.

Holdings of the largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund (ETF), SPDR Gold Trust (GLD), rose to 835.16 tonnes on Monday, the highest level since June 6, 2018. [GOL/ETF]

“Gold demand may continue to increase. With the uncertainty surrounding global markets, gold will be added to a lot of investors portfolios,” Klearman added.

Meanwhile, gold denominated in sterling XAUGBP=R soared to an all time high of 1,213.54 pounds an ounce as investors worried about the possible repercussions of Britain’s impending exit from the European Union.

Among other precious metals, silver XAG= inched up 0.2% to $16.42 an ounce and palladium XPD= jumped 1.9% to $1,441.55.

Platinum XPT= fell 0.4% to $849.96.

Reporting by Swati Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Chang

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