August 26, 2019 / 4:59 AM / a month ago

PRECIOUS-Gold prunes gains on reconciliatory trade comments, profit-booking

* Speculators increase net longs in COMEX gold

* Gold may peak $1,546-$1,569/oz range -techs (Adds fresh comment, recasts story)

By Harshith Aranya

Aug 26 (Reuters) - Gold prices erased early gains on Monday, slipping from a six-year high touched during the session, as some of the safe-haven demand waned after the United States and China indicated a possible de-escalation of trade war, that also led to some profit-taking.

Spot gold rose 0.1% to $1,527 per ounce as of 0822 GMT, after hitting $1,554.56 an ounce earlier, its highest since April 2013.

The bullion had hit this level after tit-for-tat tariffs by the U.S. and China escalated trade tensions, and boosted demand for safe-haven assets.

U.S. gold futures were also up 0.1% at $1,538.70 an ounce.

“The main news is (U.S. President Donald) Trump has commented that he is ready to negotiate with China, and China has also said they want a deal to happen,” said Renisha Chainani, head of commodity and currency research at Monarch Networth Capital in Ahmedabad, India.

“This has changed the sentiment in the market from risk-off to risk-on, and safe haven assets are seeing some profit booking. This is a knee-jerk reaction.”

Trump said on Monday China had contacted U.S. trade officials overnight to say they wanted to return to the negotiating table.

Earlier, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He had said that China opposes the escalation of the trade conflict, a state-backed newspaper reported.

On Friday, Trump had announced a 5% additional duty on $550 billion in targeted Chinese goods, hours after Beijing unveiled retaliatory tariffs on $75 billion worth of U.S. products.

Equity markets plunged in response, with the U.S. stocks slumping on Friday, followed by a steep fall across Asian shares on Monday.

On Friday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the U.S. central bank will “act as appropriate” to keep the economy healthy, although he stopped short of committing to rapid-fire rate cuts.

The markets are fully priced for a quarter-point cut in rates next month, and over 100 basis points of easing by the end of next year.

Yields on 10-year Treasury notes dived to its lowest since mid-2016, from a top of 1.66% on Friday.

Lower bond yields reduce the opportunity cost of holding non-interest bearing gold.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback’s value against a basket of six major currencies, was up 0.3%.

Spot gold may peak in a range of $1,546-$1,569 per ounce, said Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

Indicative of market sentiment, SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose 0.58% to 859.83 tonnes on Friday.

Hedge funds and money managers increased their bullish stance in COMEX gold in the week to Aug. 20, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said on Friday.

Elsewhere, silver was up 0.9% at $17.54 per ounce and platinum also gained 0.9% to $861.

Palladium climbed 0.9% to $1,473.70 per ounce.

Reporting by Harshith Aranya and K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Rashmi Aich

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