By Rachel Koning Beals
Gold investors dithered on Tuesday, sending futures prices lower then higher in a narrow intraday range, as global investors piled back into riskier assets after comments out of China soothed trade-war fears.
June gold GCM8, +0.25% was last up $1.80, or about 0.1%, to $1,341.90 an ounce. It has so far barely moved between $1,334.20 and $1,342.40. Monday’s trade also brought an about-face higher for the haven metal, which continues to trade based on stock and dollar moves.
The ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, -0.25% which measures the greenback against six major rivals, did extend its decline as morning trading progressed, last quoted at 89.61, which helped to push gold a touch higher. A weaker dollar can make U.S.-priced commodities, including gold, more attractive to buyers using other currencies, and vice versa.
Still, stock trading was the primary mood-setter. A global equity rally followed Chinese President Xi’s pledge at the Boao Forum that Beijing is developing plans to give foreign companies greater access to financial and manufacturing sectors. These include a cut in tariffs on car imports and an improvement in protection of intellectual property, among other measures.
“Gold prices fell as trade fears moderated, diminishing the appeal of the safe-haven metal,” said Marios Hadjikyriacos, analyst at trading firm XM.
Xi “calmed the nerves of investors regarding any further escalation in the U.S.-China trade spat,” Hadjikyriacos said. “Xi pledged to open up China’s economy further, to lower import tariffs and to strengthen intellectual property protection. Perhaps most importantly, he avoided any provocative comments about trade and protectionism, all of which helped risk sentiment to recover as the probability of a full-blown trade war was seen as declining.”
The Trump administration has threatened tariffs on up to $150 billion of Chinese products, which Beijing has answered with levies of its own and vows to not yield to U.S. pressure.
But geopolitical uncertainty is generally keeping a floor under range-bound gold. For one, the U.S. is preparing for a possible military strike against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over a suspected chemical-weapons attack that killed civilians. “It will be met, and it will be met forcefully—when, I will not say,” Trump said Monday evening, ahead of a meeting with senior military leaders.
Gold prices were little changed and stock futures remained higher after a report showed that wholesale-level inflation edged higher for a third month in a row, a reading that likely keeps modest interest-rate tightening by the Federal Reserve in the cards for 2018. A report on February wholesale inventories is expected at 10 a.m. Eastern.
“Gold is bouncing up against resistance once again at the $1,339 area,” said Peter Hug, global trading director with Kitco Metals. A close above that line puts $1,355 next in play, he said, with near-term support pegged at $1,332.
May silver SIK8, +0.58% used both for industrial purposes, and so more sensitive to trade issues, and as a haven financial asset, rose 4 cents, or 0.2%, to $16.575 an ounce.
Meanwhile, copper for May delivery HGK8, +1.53% gained 0.6% to $3.095 a pound on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.