June 28, 2018 / 3:10 AM / in 5 months

Gold steadies after hitting six-month low as trade fears boost dollar

LONDON (Reuters) - Gold steadied after falling to its lowest in more than six months on Thursday as mounting pressure from a U.S.-driven trade dispute propelled the dollar to near a one-year high and led investors to dump equities.

Global equities slipped to their lowest in almost three months, buffeted again after U.S. President Donald Trump outlined plans to clamp down on Chinese acquisitions of sensitive American technologies.

The trade tensions pushed the dollar to test a one-year high against a currency basket, before fizzling out as rising inflation in some German regions prompted traders to buy the euro.

A strong dollar makes dollar-priced gold costlier for non U.S. investors and while falling equities, seen as risky assets, usually help safe-haven gold, they have failed to do so this time.

“There is some safe-haven demand going into gold but not as much as is going elsewhere, like the dollar or treasuries or safe-haven currencies like the franc,” said Capital Economics analyst Simona Gambarini.

Spot gold edged up 0.1 percent to $1,253.10 an ounce at 1358 GMT. Earlier, it touched $1,248.21, its lowest since mid-December.

U.S. gold futures for August delivery dropped 0.2 percent to $1,254.20 an ounce.

Investors are positioning for a potentially fraught meeting of European Union leaders to discuss issues such as migration, Brexit and trade. They are also looking for indications on the survival prospects for the fractious new German coalition.

“Nowadays, there is no safe-haven appeal for gold, people are tracking other assets as safe havens,” said Hareesh V, head of commodity research, Geojit Financial Services.

In a nod to dollar bulls, Boston Federal Reserve President Eric Rosengren on Wednesday said the central bank should continue to raise interest rates gradually to lower the risk of a major policy error.

“Only a weaker dollar would bring the shine back for (gold). The dollar index’s strength is mainly powered by hopes for higher rates and rising yields and there seems to be no change in this any time soon,” said ThinkMarkets.com in a note.

Indicating falling demand for gold, holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, dropped 0.36 percent to 821.69 tonnes on Wednesday.

In other precious metals, spot silver was 0.3 percent higher at $16.10 an ounce. In the prior session, it touched its lowest since mid-December at $15.94.

Palladium slipped 0.6 percent to $947.60 an ounce.

Platinum fell 0.7 percent to $850.00 per ounce, having touched $845.50, its lowest since late January 2016.

Additional reporting by Karen Rodrigues in Bengaluru; editing by David Evans

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