January 14, 2019 / 4:27 AM / 2 days ago

Gold rises as weak Chinese trade data revives growth concerns

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Gold prices rose on Monday, with investors seeking safety as equities slipped after weak Chinese trade data dented risk sentiment and rekindled fears of a global economic slowdown.

FILE PHOTO: An employee stores newly cast ingots of 99.99 percent pure gold at the Krastsvetmet non-ferrous metals plant, one of the world's largest producers in the precious metals industry, in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, Russia November 22, 2018. REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin/File Photo

Spot gold rose 0.5 percent to $1,293.80 an ounce by 1223 GMT while U.S. gold futures gained 0.4 percent to $1,294.50.

“Some of the exuberance we have seen across risky assets in the past couple of weeks seems to have faded as we start a new week. With that, we are once again seeing an underlined demand for gold,” said Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen.

The metal is often used as a hedge against economic and political uncertainty.

Though the market is hopeful of a U.S.-China trade deal, softening equities and weak trade data from China show the questions remain over whether weaker global economic growth can be arrested, Hansen added.

Chinese exports fell by their most in two years in December, alongside a significant contraction in imports, data showed on Monday. That prompted a deceleration in global stock markets and highlighted fears of a sharper slowdown in global growth. [MKTS/GLOB]

On the technical front, the $1,300 level is “quite a barrier” for gold at the moment, said ABN AMRO analyst Georgette Boele.

Spot gold has gained more than 11 percent since hitting a 1-1/2-year low in mid-August at $1,159.96.

Investors will now be eyeing developments on trade between the United States and China, with U.S. officials expecting a visit by Beijing’s top trade negotiator this month after mid-level discussions between the two countries ended on a seemingly positive note.

“Safe-haven appeal continues to gleam in the current term as investors deliberate on economic uncertainties and heightened geopolitical risks in 2019,” Phillip Futures analysts said in a note.

Adding to the geopolitical unease is Tuesday’s vote on British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal as well as the partial U.S. government shutdown over President Donald Trump’s demand to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Gold has also been lifted by a dovish indication from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who last week reaffirmed that the central bank had the potential to remain patient on monetary policy, downplaying suggestions that interest rates would be raised twice more this year.

Among other precious metals, palladium rose 0.3 percent to $1,322.20 an ounce. It hit a record high at $1,342.43 last week.

Platinum dropped 0.9 percent to $803.40 while silver slipped 0.1 percent to $15.59.

Reporting by Arijit Bose and Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Susan Fenton and David Goodman

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