PRECIOUS-Gold hits one-month high on ECB decision, trade tensions

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* Silver climbs to near two-month peak

* ECB to keep rates steady through next summer

* U.S.-China trade concerns support bullion (Updates prices; adds comment, second byline, NEW YORK todateline)

NEW YORK/LONDON, June 14 (Reuters) - Gold prices rose to aone-month high on Thursday after the European Central Bank (ECB)pledged to keep interest rates steady through the summer of 2019and investors fretted over weak Chinese data.

The precious metal's upside, however, was capped by a firmerdollar and a slightly more hawkish U.S. Federal Reserve.

Spot gold XAU= gained 0.3 percent at $1,303.70 per ounceby 1:32 p.m. EDT (1732 GMT) after peaking at $1,309.30.

U.S. gold futures GCcv1 for August delivery settled up $7,or 0.5 percent, at $1,308.30 per ounce.

The ECB said it would end its unprecedented bond purchasescheme by the close of the year, but signaled that this wouldnot mean rapid policy tightening in the coming months. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N1TG0UZ

"The ECB ... has now delivered an intrinsically hawkishannouncement (i.e., the end of QE) in a dovish tone," LuigiSperanza, head of European market economics at BNP Paribas, saidin a note.

Higher interest rates generally depress the price of gold, anon-interest bearing asset.

The ECB move sent the euro down while the dollar indexextended its gains as U.S. retail sales posted their strongestrise in six months, supporting the view the Fed would raiseshort-term interest rates further. USD/urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nLNSEHEEET

On Wednesday, the Fed lifted key overnight borrowing costsby a quarter percentage point. It also projected two more rateincreases by the end of this year, compared to one previously. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nTLADHEE2K

A stronger greenback typically makes dollar-priced gold moreexpensive for non-U.S. investors.

But gold got a boost after China said it was ready torespond if U.S. President Donald Trump activated tariffs onChinese goods. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N1TG05L

"Trade tensions ... are supportive for gold but having saidthat we don't think the upside is open because there areheadwinds coming from the global recovery ... and the fact thatthe Fed is more hawkish," said Societe Generale analyst RobinBhar.

Inflation worries also lent support, said Michael Matousek,head trader at U.S. Global Investors. As production costs risewith inflation, companies have less profits to allocate towardemployees, so wages are not growing much, he explained.

"(Investors) are purchasing gold, because they canunderstand it, as opposed to not understanding why that wageinflation is not going up more," Matousek said.

Silver XAG= climbed 1.4 percent to $17.24 an ounce, afterhitting $17.32 an ounce, its highest since April 19.

Platinum XPT= rose 0.6 percent to $904.50 an ounce aftertouching a two-week high of $912.80, while palladium XPD= gained 0.2 percent at $1,010.90. (Additional reporting by Eric Onstad in London, Karen Rodriguesand Swati Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by Adrian Croft andRichard Chang) ((Renita.Young@tr.com; 1 646 223 8699; Twitter: @RenitaDYoungtwitter.com/renitadyoung))

This article appears in: Politics , Stocks , World Markets , Economy

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