February 27, 2019 / 6:06 AM / a year ago

Gold slips to near two-week lows as dollar firms on trade angst

(Reuters) - Gold prices fell to their lowest in nearly two weeks on Wednesday, pressured by a mild revival in the dollar after comments from the U.S. Trade Representative dampened expectations of a quick resolution to the U.S.-China trade dispute.

An employee takes granules 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/Files

Spot gold slipped 0.8 percent to $1,318.64 per ounce at 2:13 p.m. EST (1912 GMT). The yellow metal fell to its lowest since Feb. 15 at $1,316.43 earlier in the session.

U.S. gold futures settled down 0.5 percent at $1,321.2 per ounce.

The dollar gained 0.2 percent on safe-haven bids after U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Washington’s issues with China are “too serious” to be resolved by Chinese promises to purchase more U.S. goods.

A strong dollar, which had been the preferred safe-haven currency during the U.S.-China trade dispute, makes gold costlier for holders of other currencies.

“The U.S. dollar moved to its daily high and that put some pressure on the gold market ... We’re also seeing some profit taking (in the gold market) from recent gains,” said Jim Wyckoff, senior analyst at Kitco Metals.

Gold hit a more than 10-month peak last week and has gained about 15 percent since mid-August 2018, when it touched a more than one-and-half-year low.

Providing a solid foundation for bullion was Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s reiteration that the central bank would remain “patient” while deciding the future of U.S. interest rates.

“Fed stating they will be patient with future rate hikes gives gold investors some confidence that there is still upside potential in the price of the metal,” said Walter Pehowich, executive vice president of investment services at Dillon Gage Metals.

Investors are also monitoring the tensions between India and Pakistan, with the two countries engaged in retaliatory attacks.

“The escalation in Indo-Pak tensions, along with Michael Cohen’s testimony today could potentially provide increased equity volatility and provide a haven bid in gold, although this would likely be short-lived,” analysts at TD Commodities said in a note.

Separately, spot palladium dropped 2.5 percent to $1,521.50 per ounce after setting a record high of $1,565.09 in the previous session.

The autocatalyst metal has climbed over 20 percent so far this year on a widening supply tightness, while threats of strikes by mineworkers in South Africa added further support.

“There’s lot of momentum in the palladium market. We’re seeing some retracement because the rally in prices has been overdone,” said Chris Gaffney, president of world markets at TIAA Bank.

Among other precious metals, silver fell 1.5 percent to $15.70 per ounce, while platinum gained 0.9 percent to $864, having earlier hit $871.94, its highest since Nov. 8.

(For a graphic on 2019 asset returns, click here tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl)

Reporting by Arijit Bose and Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru, editing by G Crosse and Steve Orlofsky

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