Gold slips as dollar steadies; N. Korea headlines in focus

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By Apeksha Nair

BENGALURU – Gold edged down from two-month highs on Monday, as the dollar inched up from last week’s lows and investors kept a close watch on any developments on tensions over the Korean peninsula.

Spot gold was down 0.1 percent $1,287.60 per ounce at 0359 GMT, after marking its highest since June 7 at $1,291.86 an ounce in the previous session.

U.S. gold futures for December delivery were little changed at $1,293.8 per ounce.

“Maybe geopolitical tensions are easing so it’s natural for gold to come down a bit …But it’s very unpredictable because prices could rise to another high because of some change,” said Richard Xu, a fund manager at China’s biggest gold exchange-traded fund, HuaAn Gold.

“After the sharp sell off in the dollar, over the weekend nothing happened so I guess the threat from the (Korean) peninsula is low, but we think gold fundamentals are strong,” Xu said.

The dollar on Monday edged higher against the yen, trading above last week’s near four-month low, with rising tensions between the United States and North Korea seen as the key to the near-term outlook. [USD/]

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of major currencies, was almost unchanged at 93.109.

President Donald Trump issued a new threat to North Korea on Friday, saying the U.S. military was “locked and loaded” as Pyongyang accused him of driving the Korean peninsula to the brink of nuclear war and world powers expressed alarm.

Geopolitical risks can boost demand for assets considered safe-haven investments, such as gold.

“Although more aggressive rhetoric between the U.S. and North officials would temporarily boost gold prices, we see outright military action as unlikely and upward pressure on gold prices stemming from the confrontation as limited,” analysts at BMI research said in a note.

Meanwhile, a lower-than-expected rise in U.S. consumer prices in July suggesting benign inflation could persuade a cautious Federal Reserve to delay raising interest rates until December.

Spot gold faces a strong resistance at $1,291 per ounce, it may hover below this level or retrace to a support at $1,278, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

Among other precious metals, silver was up 0.3 percent at $17.12 per ounce, after hitting its highest since June 14 at $17.24 an ounce last week.

Platinum fell 0.1 percent to $978.95 per ounce and palladium was down 0.1 percent at $891.65 per ounce.

Reporting by Apeksha Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell(Reuters)

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