December 23, 2019
Gold inches up in pre holiday trade as markets await concrete trade details
(Reuters) - Gold prices edged up on Monday in low-volume trading, ahead of the Christmas and New Year holidays, as investors awaited solid developments on the U.S.-China trade front.
Spot gold was up 0.2% at $1,480.77 per ounce by 0349 GMT. U.S. gold futures rose 0.3% to $1,484.70 per ounce.
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday Washington and Beijing would "very shortly" sign their so-called phase one trade pact, however, markets still craved further details on the agreement.
"There are some cosmetic improvements (in trade), but there is no comprehensive deal. Secondly, everyone knows that the Federal Reserve is not going to raise interest rates any time soon, that makes gold really affordable," said John Sharma, an economist at National Australia Bank.
Gold, considered a safe investment in times of political and economic uncertainty, is set to register its best year since 2010 mainly due to the 17-month long tariff war and its impact on the global economy.
Market participants were also concerned after China's top lawmaking body on Saturday criticized the defense bill that Washington passed last week as "interference."
"Prices are in a holding pattern around these $1,470-80's levels, there is nothing new, data and other things are already priced in, so gold is looking for some sort of cue for a break out either way," Sharma said.
Data out of the United States on Friday showed, economic growth nudged up in the third quarter, while consumer spending increased in November, supporting the Fed's view to keep interest rates unchanged indefinitely.
Gold is highly sensitive to any reduction in interest rates, which decreases the opportunity cost of holding the non-yielding bullion.
Indicative of investor sentiment, holdings of the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, rose 0.3% to 885.93 tonnes on Friday.
Speculators increased their bullish positions on COMEX gold and silver contracts in the week to Dec. 17.
Among other precious metals, palladium fell 0.7% to $1,841.71 per ounce, after declining as much as 5% in the previous session.
Silver rose 0.3% to $17.23 per ounce, while platinum gained 0.8% to $915.59.