Gold hovers near 6-year peak on slowdown fears, trade jitters

LONDON: Gold steadied close to a more than six-year high on Wednesday, after rising more than 1% in the previous session, as fears of a possible recession and the trade conflict between China and the United States drove investors to safe havens.
Spot gold was down 0.1% at $1,541.24 per ounce, as of 0922 GMT. On Monday it touched $1,554.56, its highest since April 2013.
U.S. gold futures were steady at $1,551.20.
“There is some kind of consolidation at these price levels (around $1,550) and the market is assessing the next development in the U.S.-China trade saga,” said SP Angel analyst Sergey Raevskiy.
While there are expectations for monetary policy easing in the euro zone, inversion in U.S. Treasury yield curve increased hopes for further rates cuts by the U.S. central bank, he added.
Gold rose more than 1% on Tuesday as an inversion in the U.S. yield curve and disappointing U.S. economic data rekindled fears of a recession amid uncertainties around the trade dispute.
“People are beginning to think that the economy is not doing that well, there could be a possible recession, or more likely, a slowing economy, which means the Federal Reserve will have to cut rates and that supports gold,” said John Sharma, an economist with National Australia Bank.
Federal funds futures implied traders saw a 91% chance of a 25 basis-point rate cut by the U.S. central bank next month.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday predicted a trade deal with China but optimism wilted after China’s foreign ministry spokesperson dismissed claims of phone calls between the two sides.
However, “if there are some sort of tangible signs that the (trade) talks are going to restart, or at least that they are getting there, it would be a risk-on outcome and we can see yields go higher and push gold a bit lower,” said Ilya Spivak, senior currency strategist with DailyFx.
On the technical front, bullion’s 14-day relative strength index (RSI) was around 70, indicating that the commodity was approaching overbought territory.
“Gold has become a crowded trade, raising the possibility of a short-term correction,” ANZ analysts said in a note.
Elsewhere, spot silver gained 0.8% to $18.30 an ounce, having earlier touched $18.34, its highest level since April 2017.
“There is not much at present to suggest that the demand for gold and silver might abate,” Commerzbank analysts wrote in a note.
Spot platinum climbed 0.7% to $871.95 an ounce, after touching its highest in nearly a month earlier in the session, while palladium eased 0.6% to $1,473.80.

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