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Gold Poised for Weekly Loss As Risk Appetite Reignites

January 18, 2019 at 15:53 by Andrew Moran

Gold futures are tumbling at the end of the trading week and are on track to record a tepid weekly loss. With optimism over a potential US-China trade deal ballooning, there is a renewed appetite for risk, sending the equities market higher. This typically does not bode well for a conventional safe-haven asset like precious metals.

February gold futures slipped $9.20, or 0.71%, to $1,283.10 per ounce at 14:20 GMT on Friday. The yellow metal is poised for a weekly decline of 0.35%, bringing its year-to-date loss to 0.1%.

Silver, the sister commodity to gold, is also contracting to finish off the trading week. March silver futures fell $0.115, or 0.74%, to $15.42 per ounce. The white metal will post a steep weekly drop of about 1.4%, increasing its YTD loss to just under 1%.

Despite the US government denying reports that a new trade agreement between the world’s two largest economies is imminent, traders believe US-China tensions are about to come to an end. This potentially stems from both sides wanting to reach a conclusion as soon as possible, fearing the exacerbated consequences of maintaining trade turmoil.

This confidence in a new trade pact lifted riskier assets, including stocks. The Dow Jones experienced triple-digit gains at the start of the trading session, while foreign markets are also in the green.

Wall Street might be upbeat, but consumers are not as excited. The University of Michigan index on consumer sentiment plummeted from 98.3 in December to 90.7 in January, much lower the median estimate of 97.5. The authors of the survey cited tariffs, the shutdown, volatility in global financial markets, and the global slowdown as contributors to waning confidence.

There are concerns that the partial US government shutdown, which is entering its fourth week, could have a greater effect on first-quarter economic growth. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon warned that if the shutdown lingers on, then it could drive growth to zero in the January-to-March period.

The US dollar still rallied on Friday as the greenback climbed 0.14% to 96.25, advancing 0.5% on the week. A stronger buck is bad for commodities priced in dollars because it makes it more expensive for foreign investors to purchase.

In other metals markets, March copper futures edged up $0.035, or 1.31%, to $2.715 per pound. March platinum futures shed $9.10, or 1.12%, to $803.20 an ounce. March palladium futures cratered $15.90, or 1.18%, to $1,332.30 per ounce.

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