Gold dips as stock markets cheer U.S.-China trade optimism

By Karthika Suresh Namboothiri

(Reuters) – Gold prices eased on Monday, extending falls for a third session as optimism surrounding U.S.-China trade talks increased risk appetite, while a slight uptick in dollar also weighed on prices.

Spot gold dropped 0.2% to $1,485.86 per ounce as of 0330 GMT, having shed 1% in the previous week. Prices were set to decline for three consecutive daily sessions.

U.S. gold futures GCcv1 inched up 0.1% to $1,490.20 per ounce.

“Gold is not moving on gold fundamentals, it is moving on whatever is going on with the trade situation,” OANDA analyst Jeffrey Halley said.

“The trade deal was short on detail, but is still going to be enough to probably support risk, and that will be negative for gold.”

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday outlined the first phase of a deal to end the protracted Sino-U.S. trade war and suspended a threatened tariff hike, the biggest step by the two countries in 15 months. Asian stock markets cheered the news, with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS up 0.5%.

“The positive headline is encouraging. However, we saw the same move before in April …. This time may be different as timing could be the catalyst for both sides to go ahead with the talk without derailing the situation,” OCBC Bank said in a note referring to the U.S.-China trade talks.

Singapore’s central bank eased monetary policy for the first time in three years on Monday, with the city-state’s economy narrowly dodging recession in the midst of the long-drawn trade war between the world’s two biggest economies.

Meanwhile, markets await Britain and the European Union’s talks later in the day, ahead of a summit on Thursday and Friday. Both parties said that a lot more work would be needed to secure an agreement on Britain’s departure from the bloc, scheduled for Oct. 31.

Gold is generally used by investors as a hedge against political and financial uncertainty.

“We remain optimistic on bullion prospects as central banks enact for monetary-policy easing programmes over looming downside risks in the global economy,” Phillip Futures analyst Benjamin Lu said in a note.

Amongst other precious metals, silver inched 0.1% higher to $17.55 per ounce and platinum climbed 0.3% to $892.09.

Palladium shed 0.3% to $1,693.29 an ounce, after hitting a record high of $1,705.84 on Friday.

(Reporting by Karthika Suresh Namboothiri in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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