PRECIOUS-Gold holds firm on trade, growth worries; heads for weekly fall

A generic image of a line graph Credit: Shutterstock photo

* Spot gold down 0.6 pct so far this week

* SPDR Gold holdings down for 5th session

* Trump says won't meet China's Xi before March 1 deadline

By Sethuraman N R

Feb 8 (Reuters) - Gold held steady on Friday on worries thata prolonged Sino-U.S. trade war could worsen global economicslowdown, but a strong dollar put bullion on track for its firstweekly loss in three.

Spot gold XAU= was steady at $1,309.24 per ounce, as of0553 GMT, after the metal hit its lowest since Jan. 29 at$1,302.11 on Thursday.

U.S. gold futures GCv1 were also unchanged at $1,313.20.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he did not planto meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping before a March 1deadline set by the two countries to achieve a trade deal. Thetwo countries had taken a 90-day hiatus in their trade war towork out a deal.

Stocks pulled back sharply around the world on fears of aglobal growth slowdown spreading to Europe and uncertaintiesaround U.S.-China trade tensions. MKTS/GLOB

"Some of our growth indicators are clearly seeing easingglobal activity and trade volumes are being hit. That makespeople cautious and could derive support for gold around$1,300-$1,330 range," said John Sharma, an economist withNational Australian Bank.

The European Commission on Thursday sharply cut itsforecasts for euro zone economic growth this year and next onexpectations the bloc's largest countries will be held back byglobal trade tensions and domestic challenges.

"People are still not sure in what direction the trade warmight go," Sharma said, adding that the U.S. dollar's strengthwas also capping gold's gains.

The dollar index .DXY , a gauge of its value versus sixmajor peers, was hovering close to its two-week high. USD/

Bullion prices have risen about 13 percent since touchingover 1-1/2-year lows in August, mostly due to volatile stockmarkets, a pull-back in dollar and dovish U.S. Federal Reserve.

But, a strong dollar, which makes bullion more expensive forholders of other currencies, has driven gold down 0.6 percentfor this week.

"Macro concerns in the global economy continue to underpingold's safe haven status, and the buying interest just happensto be accumulating around the $1,300 level," said Ronan Manly,precious metals analyst at Singapore-based dealer BullionStar.

Gold's pull back from a nine-month high of $1,326.30 touchedlast week has driven outflows in the world's largest gold-backedexchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold TrustGLD .

SPDR gold holdings fell for a fifth straight session onThursday, shedding over 1 percent for the week in what could betheir worst fall since the week ended Oct. 7. GOL/ETF

Among other precious metals, palladium XPD= stood firm at$1,388 an ounce, silver XAG= was down 0.2 percent at $15.68and platinum XPT= was 0.3 percent lower at $793. (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing bySubhranshu Sahu and Rashmi Aich) ((; (Within U.S.1-651-848-5832, Outside U.S. +91 8067496031); Reuters

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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