Gold flat as strong dollar counters safe-haven demand

Bengaluru — Gold prices were flat in light trading on Friday with Chinese markets closed for the Lunar New Year break, while a firm dollar offset safe-haven demand fuelled by Middle East concerns.

Spot gold was at $2,032.76/oz, at 4.04am GMT. Bullion has declined 0.3% so far in the week.

US gold futures were flat at $2,047.70/oz.

China’s Shanghai Futures Exchange is closed from February 9-16 for the Lunar New Year holidays.

“Some stress in US regional banks, Chinese New Year demand and Middle East tensions put a floor on the metal,” said Hugo Pascal, a precious metals trader at InProved.

Concern lingered about the Middle East as Israeli forces bombed areas in the southern border city of Rafah after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected a Hamas truce proposal.

The dollar index and 10-year treasury yield were both set for a weekly rise.

Focus will shift next week to a US consumer price index report after Federal Reserve officials said they would hold off on cutting interest rates until they had more confidence that inflation was headed down to 2%.

Traders have pared bets for a May interest rate cut in the US

Spot palladium prices fell below those of sister metal platinum for the first time since April 2018 on Thursday. However, palladium has since taken the lead again, up 0.6% to $892.26/oz, while platinum rose to $890.09.

Both metals have been under pressure as consumers drew down inventories.

However, palladium will be harder hit on rising electric vehicle sales, due to its limited uses elsewhere, analysts at ANZ Research wrote in a note.

Both metals are used in making a key component in internal combustion engines, but platinum is also used in jewellery and other industries.

Spot silver rose 0.2% to $22.63.