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Gold Rallies to Five-Week High as Investors Prepare for Trade War

March 23, 2018 at 16:13 by Andrew Moran

Gold futures are surging to their best levels in more than a month as investors prepare for Chinese retaliatory efforts. Gold further advanced on a lower US dollar and political turmoil in Washington as the US could face a government shutdown.

April gold futures soared $19.60, or 1.48%, to $1,347.00 per ounce at 15:51 GMT on Friday. The yellow metal is poised to settle at its best level since the middle of February. Gold prices are also on track to record a 2.5% weekly gain.

Silver, the sister commodity to gold, is also rallying to finish the trading week. May silver futures rose $0.163, or 0.99%, to $16.55 an ounce. The white metal is getting ready to report a 1.3% weekly jump.

Investors are diving into the safe-haven asset after China proposed tariffs of up to 25% on more than 100 US products, including steel pipes, ginseng, ethanol, wine, and fruit. The next series of import levies could be imposed on other US agricultural exports, particularly soybeans and oranges. Chinese President Xi Jinping is retaliating against President Donald Trump’s duties on $60 billion worth of goods on Thursday, which many say is further igniting a global trade war.

The reports are sending the US dollar lower as the greenback shed 0.33%. The buck will suffer a 0.7% weekly loss, which is a boon for dollar-denominated commodities because it makes it cheaper for foreign investors to purchase.

On Friday, new economic data was released: US durable-goods orders climbed 3.1%, while new home sales rose 0.6% in February.

Meanwhile, Washington is in turmoil as President Trump has threatened to veto a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill that keeps the doors of Capitol Hill open until September. The president has said the legislation does not help DACA recipients and it does not provide funding for the border wall. Should he cancel the legislation, then he risks facing a government shutdown.

On Thursday, Trump shook up the White House again, replacing former national security adviser Herbert Raymond McMaster with John Bolton.

Earlier this week, the Federal Reserve wrapped up its March Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) policy meeting. Fed Chair Jerome Powell pulled the trigger on a rate hike and hinted that two increases to interest rates are likely coming this year. Gold is typically sensitive to a rising-rate environment because it lifts the opportunity cost and sends traders into yield-bearing assets.

If you have any questions and comments on the commodities today, use the form below to reply.

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