Gold gains in quiet trade as concerns about U.S-China trade deal rise
Gold futures climbed slightly on Friday in light trading after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, as investors remained concerned about the deterioration of U.S.-China trade relations after a bill supporting Hong Kong protesters was signed by President Trump late on Wednesday.
Gold has been trading in a range between $1,450 and $1,485 for most of November, as major U.S. stock indexes pushed higher to new records on optimism about prospects for a U.S. -China trade deal.
As of Wednesday’s close, the most active contract for Gold left the precious metal down 4.05% for the month, or on track for its worst month since November 2016, according to Dow Jones Market Data.
“Going into year end, the key themes to watch will be how interest rates move, if and how trade tensions resolve and finally where the USD goes in terms of gold pricing,” said Kathryn Kaminski, chief research strategist and portfolio manager at AlphaSimplex Group, in an email to MarketWatch.
“These three forces are all in play, if any one of them becomes dominant we could clearly see gold prices move strongly in either direction.”
U.S. stock index were trading lower on Friday in holiday-thinned trading, threatening to end a four-day win streak, as investors remained worried about the deterioration of U.S.-China trade relations after a bill supporting Hong Kong protesters was signed by President Trump late on Wednesday.
Concerns around trade flared up again Thursday after President Donald Trump signed legislation supporting Hong Kong protesters, a point of contention between the U.S. and China. In response, Chinese officials summoned the U.S. ambassador and called the new law as interference in its domestic affairs.
Investors fear this could undermine chances for concluding a trade deal between the two countries ahead of a Dec. 15 deadline for a new round of U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods.
However, a Wall Street Journal report indicates that officials in Beijing are looking to separate geopolitics from trade, and did not necessarily see the passage of the Hong Kong bill irrevocably harming the prospects for a phase one trade deal.
“We start a whole new game of calling each-other’s bluff – and one where the U.S. can see that China either doesn’t want to, or can’t, retaliate as aggressively as it threatens,” wrote Michael Every, senior strategist at Rabobank.
In other metals trade, January platinum PLF20, +0.54% gained $6.70, or 0.7%, to $902.1 an ounce, while March copper HGZ19, -1.29%, now the active contract, was down 1.4% at $2.658 a pound after data showed China’s economy slowing for the seventh month in a row.
Profits at Chinese industrial firms fell the most on record in October, dropping 9.9% from a year ago, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed Wednesday.