October 18, 2019
Gold holds above $1,490 on weak Chinese data, Brexit prospects
(Reuters) - Gold prices held above $1,490 on Friday as disappointing data from China reinforced concerns that its trade spat with the United States had begun taking a toll on global economies, while the Brexit deal waits for parliamentary backing.
However, capping gains was upbeat equities that cheered the heightened possibility that Britain could have a smooth departure from the European Union after all.
Spot gold rose 0.1% to $1,492.56 per ounce as of 0342 GMT. Prices had gained about 0.2% in the week.
U.S. gold futures dropped 0.1% to $1,496.20 per ounce.
The European Union backed a new Brexit deal with Britain on Thursday. This prompted an uptick in Asian shares with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares ex-Japan up 0.1%.
"The Brexit deal did not have as much a negative impact on gold as expected. This means that there are still concerns that it might not get passed in the parliament," said Brian Lan, managing director at dealer GoldSilver Central in Singapore.
While markets cheered progress in talks, doubts erupt if Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be able to secure the UK parliament's backing for the agreement if he is to take Britain out of Europe on Oct. 31.
"Gold will be range-bound until and unless we have some clarity on Brexit and other geo-political risks," Lan said adding that he expects gold to trade around $1,475 and $1,503 per ounce in the short term.
Worries surrounding a trade war between the United States and China still lingered, with China's economic growth slowing more than expected to 6% year-on-year in the third quarter, the weakest pace in almost three decades.
Beijing hopes to reach a phased agreement and cancel tariffs as soon as possible, the Commerce Ministry said on Thursday, adding that trade wars had no winners.
The world's two-largest economies have imposed tariffs on each other's goods in a dispute over China's trade and industrial policies that has slammed the brakes on global economic growth. Gold is often used at such times as a hedge against uncertainty.
The dollar index at a near eight-week low has also lent support to the metal.
ANZ Bank said in a note it expects gold to receive support from elevated macro and geopolitical risks, with under-supplied PGM (platinum group metal) prices likely to push higher.
"The palladium market is still structurally tight, keeping prices resilient with intermittent volatility."
Amongst other precious metals, palladium was muted at around $1,758.91, a day after hitting a record high of $1,783.21 an ounce. The autocatalyst metal was up 3.6% for the week, and set for its best since the week of Sept. 13.
Platinum shed 0.2% to $885.57 per ounce while silver inched 0.1% higher to $17.54.