June 4, 2018 / 4:15 AM / 2 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold steady as trade war concerns offset U.S. rate hike prospects

    * Specs raise net long gold positions to highest since late
April
    * Platinum touches over one-week low

 (Recasts, add comments, details and updates prices)
    By Karen Rodrigues
    BENGALURU, June 4 (Reuters) - Gold prices traded within a
narrow range on Monday as lingering concerns about trade wars
between the United States and the rest of the world offset
expectations of a U.S. interest rate hike this month.
    Spot gold        was nearly unchanged at $1,293.23 per
ounce, as of 0751 GMT, after hitting its lowest since May 23 at
$1,289.12 in the previous session.
    U.S. gold futures         for August delivery slipped 0.2
percent to $1,297.20 per ounce.
    Gold is often seen as a safe haven in times of political and
economic uncertainty.
    "Political issues in Italy and Spain have eased for now,
however, there are still simmering trade tensions between the
United States and a number of parties that may play a supportive
role over the near-term to more so restrict declines rather than
see a test higher," MKS trader Samuel Laughlin said in a note.
    Finance leaders of the closest U.S. allies vented anger over
the Trump administration's metal import tariffs on Saturday,
ending a three-day meeting with a stern rebuke of Washington and
setting up a heated fight at a G7 summit next week in Quebec.
            
    U.S. job growth accelerated in May and the unemployment rate
dropped to an 18-year low of 3.8 percent, underpinning
expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates
this month.             
    "Some of the risks on the geo-political front are easing
slightly... It is going to be very difficult for gold to really
push higher from here," said ANZ analyst Daniel Hynes.
    Spot gold may revisit its May 21 low of $1,281.76 per ounce,
as its bounce from this level seems to have completed, according
to Reuters Technical analyst Wang Tao.         
    Higher interest rates discourage the buying of
non-interest-paying bullion, which is priced in dollars.
    "It's very common for gold to trade defensive ahead of a Fed
rate hike, but with geopolitical risk premium deflating, these
narratives should provide a challenge to gold's ambitions this
week," said Stephen Innes, APAC trading head at OANDA.
    Meanwhile, speculators raised their net long position in
COMEX gold contracts to the strongest since late April, at
61,235, in the week to May 29, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading
Commission (CFTC) data showed on Friday.        
    Spot silver        was up 0.5 percent at $16.43 an ounce.
    Platinum        slipped 0.2 percent to $901.40. Earlier in
the session, it touched 894.55, its lowest in over a week.
    Palladium        rose 0.9 percent to $1,008.10 per ounce.

 (Reporting by Karen Rodrigues in Bengaluru; Editing by
Subhranshu Sahu and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
  
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