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Gold Steady as Dollar Slides on Weak U.S. Data

CommoditiesFeb 14, 2019 01:59PM ET
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© Reuters. - Gold bugs may get a surprise break from U.S. economic weakening, but more data is needed to verify that.

The spot price of bullion was barely changed while futures of gold rose on Wednesday as the dollar slid after U.S. retail sales tumbled 1.2% in December, the Commerce Department reported. Economists had forecast a gain of 0.1% for the period.

Spot gold, reflective of trades in physical bullion, slid by 0.5 cent to $1,315.05 per ounce by 1:19 PM ET (18:19 GMT).

In futures trading, gold's benchmark April contract on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange was up $5.79, or 0.4%, at $1,312.07 per ounce.

Producer price inflation also came out weaker than expected, while initial jobless claims were higher than expected last week.

Gold traders held out from chasing new highs to see if the US-Sino trade talks will result in a deal.

Bloomberg reported that President Donald Trump was considering a 60-day extension to the March 1 deadline requiring China to reach a trade deal with the U.S. or risk having tariffs on $200 billion worth of goods raised to 25% from 10%.

A trade delegation led by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has been huddled in high-level talks with Chinese counterparts, led by Vice Premier Liu He, in Beijing since Tuesday.

"Gold is paring losses on Valentine’s Day after retail sales were off and unemployment figures rose," said George Gero, precious metals analyst at RBC Wealth Management in New York. "But we still need more headlines on US-China talks, Brexit, and whether legislation will pass on averting another U.S. government shutdown to see if bullion will continue fetching a bid."

Gold prices have risen more than 12% since touching more than 1-1/2-year lows in mid-August, mostly on expectations of a pause in Fed rate hikes.

Lower rates are disadvantageous to interest-bearing assets such as the dollar, but work in favor of commodities like gold that offer a store of value to investors. The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of other major currencies, slid 0.1% to 96.847.

But gold's run-up has also lost steam since last month when futures peaked at a 2019 high of $1,331.10.

Palladium remained the world's most valuable traded metal, with its XPD/USD trading up $11.40, or 0.8%, at 1,411.70 per ounce, after reaching a peak of $1,414.50 earlier.

Trades in other Comex metals as of 1:19 PM ET (18:19 GMT):

Palladium futures up $13.10, or 1%, at $1,385.70 per ounce.

Silver futures down 9.9 cents, or 0.6%, at $15.55 per ounce.

Platinum futures down $3.55, or 0.5%, at $788.25 per ounce.

Copper futures down 0.02 cent, or 0.1%, at $2.77 per pound.

Gold Steady as Dollar Slides on Weak U.S. Data

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