(Reuters) - Gold shook off initial losses to post modest gains in volatile trade on Friday as risk sentiment soured on U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to impose new tariffs on China, but bullion was still on track for its worst week since mid-March.
Spot gold climbed 0.9% to $1,694.56 per ounce by 11:37 a.m. EDT (1537 GMT).
U.S. gold futures rose 0.7% to $1,706.80.
“We saw some weakness in the U.S. equities markets... It seemed Trump was hinting at a resurgence of the trade war,” said Phil Streible, chief market strategist at Blue Line Futures in Chicago.
“That being said, a lot of investors liquidated various asset classes that might be affected by that and went back into safety, specifically gold.”
Trump said on Thursday his trade deal with China was now of secondary importance to the coronavirus pandemic and he threatened new tariffs on Beijing, as his administration crafted retaliatory measures over the outbreak.
U.S. stocks fell at open on Trump’s warning, and as Apple and Amazon became the latest companies to warn of more pain in the future. [.N]
Gold was also supported by a weaker dollar.
Considered a safe store of value during economic or political turmoil, gold was, however, on track to post a more than 1% decline for the week as more economies eased restrictions and as investors covered losses in wider markets.
South Africa took its first steps on Friday towards rolling back one of the world’s strictest COVID-19 lockdowns, a day after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to set out a plan next week on how Britain might start gradually returning to normal life.
“However, gold’s narrative has not changed much. We’re in for a gloomy run of economic data over the next few months and central banks will continue to ease, including the U.S. Federal Reserve, which opens up gold to go higher,” said Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at financial services firm AxiCorp.
The pandemic, which has infected more than 3.2 million people globally and killed over 227,000, has also battered the global economy, prompting central banks to unleash massive fiscal and monetary measures to limit the economic toll.
Gold tends to benefit from widespread stimulus as it is often seen as a hedge against inflation and currency debasement.
Palladium fell 2% to $1,920.20 per ounce, on track for its fifth straight weekly decline.
Platinum shed 0.5% at $768.74 per ounce, while silver fell 0.6% to $14.85.
Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Chris Reese