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Gold Steadies at Five-Week High amid Global Trade Tensions

March 26, 2018 at 16:24 by Andrew Moran

Gold futures are holding firm at five-week highs as investors pay attention to trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies: the US and China. The yellow metal’s early gains were capped on reports that Chinese and American officials are negotiating trade behind the scenes and a rebound in equities.

April gold futures rose $5.40, or 0.40%, to $1,355.50 per ounce at 16:05 GMT on Monday. Last week, gold prices rallied to their best levels since the middle of February, recording a weekly gain of 2.5%.

Silver, the sister commodity to gold, is also rallying to kick off the trading week. May silver futures advanced $0.16, or 0.98%, to $16.74 an ounce. The white metal reported a 1.3% weekly jump last week.

On Friday, China proposed tariffs on 128 US products worth about $3 billion. The move came one day after President Donald Trump announced tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports. Beijing alleges the US is violating global trade rules, while Washington is accusing China of stealing intellectual property (IP). This is causing investors to fear that the trade war is only intensifying.

There are several reports that US and Chinese officials are working behind the scenes to come to a satisfactory conclusion on trade. Until then, the tensions are out in the public and spooking markets.

Gold further benefited last week when the Federal Reserve announced that it planned to raise interest rates two more times in 2018, which is one less than the market anticipated. Gold is generally sensitive to a rising-rate environment because it lifts the opportunity cost and sends traders into yield-bearing assets. If there were one less rate hike, then it would help the yellow metal.

Following a 0.7% weekly decline, the US dollar is starting the trading week tumbling even further. The greenback shed 0.44% to 89.04. A weak buck is good for dollar-denominated commodities because they tend to trade inversely, allowing foreign investors to purchase metals at a cheaper cost.

Other metals were mixed on Monday. May copper futures slipped $0.02, or 0.70%, to $2.97 per pound. April platinum futures jumped $5.20, or 0.55%, to $953.60 an ounce. April palladium futures were flat at $972.00 per ounce.

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