Gold rises amid uncertainty over outcome of US-China talks

Bengaluru — Gold prices rose slightly on Wednesday amid a firm dollar and uncertainty over the outcome of US-China trade talks, while investors waited for minutes from the Federal Reserve’s meeting for clues on the outlook for US interest rates.

Spot gold was up 0.1% at $1,292.56/oz, as of 3.29am GMT. US gold futures for June delivery were unchanged at $1,291.90/oz.

“We were quite steady this morning, but are running out of steam with dollar being quite firm,” a Hong Kong-based trader said.

“We want to see what FOMC [Federal open market committee] minutes have in store for us.… I think [investors] are looking at anything out of the ordinary that could raise the market,” the trader said.

The dollar inched higher versus a basket of currencies on Wednesday, with investors awaiting minutes of the Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting due later in the day for hints on the pace of further US monetary tightening. At the previous policy meeting in May, the US central bank expressed confidence in the economy and kept its benchmark lending rate unchanged and said inflation was near the bank’s target, leaving it on track to raise borrowing costs in June.

The markets would shift to the minutes for inflation updates as any suggestion that the Fed did see a pickup beyond its 2% target could be interpreted bullishly for gold, which should find support as an inflation hedge, Stephen Innes, Asia-Pacific trading head at Oanda said in a note.

Gold is highly sensitive to rising US rates, as these increase the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion, while boosting the dollar in which the metal is priced.

Meanwhile, Asian shares were slightly lower as investors were cautious after US President Donald Trump said he was not pleased with recent trade talks between the US and China, tempering optimism over progress made so far in trade talks between the world’s two largest economies.

Trump also said there was a “substantial chance” his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un would not take place as planned on June 12 amid the concern that Kim is resistant to giving up his nuclear weapons.

Political tensions can boost demand for save-haven assets such as gold and the Japanese yen.

In other metals, silver climbed 0.1% to $16.53/oz.

Platinum slipped 0.2% to $901.50/oz and palladium slid 0.1% to $989.90/oz.