Gold prices steady as U.S.-China trade optimism sparks market cheer

By Karthika Suresh Namboothiri
FILE PHOTO: An employee takes granules of 99.99% pure gold at the Krastsvetmet non-ferrous metals plant in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk

By Karthika Suresh Namboothiri

(Reuters) - Gold was largely muted on Tuesday, weighed down by buoyant Asian shares that cheered progress in trade talks between the United States and China, but found support from a lack of clarity in the negotiation details.

Spot gold was largely unchanged at $1,484.86 per ounce as of 0632 GMT. U.S. gold futures also held firm at $1,487.80.

China and the United States have achieved some progress in their trade talks, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng said on Tuesday, adding that as long as both sides respected each other, no problem could not be resolved.

Le's comments came a day after U.S. President Donald Trump spoke of optimism about a deal, while White House adviser Larry Kudlow said tariffs on Chinese goods scheduled for December could be withdrawn if talks go well.

This cheered markets and pushed the benchmark S&P 500 stock index within striking distance of a record high on Monday. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.4% on Tuesday. [MKTS/GLOB] [.N]

"Equities markets are in a risk-on mode, and there seems to be a lack of support for gold prices and precious metals," said Margaret Yang Yan, a market analyst at CMC Markets, adding that fears of a no-deal Brexit had ebbed and progressing U.S.-China trade talks gave markets some relief.

In the latest on the Brexit proceedings, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's parliamentary battle starts again on Tuesday, when lawmakers will debate and vote on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, the detailed legislation that puts his exit deal into British domestic law.

"The (slip in prices) does not mean gold will continue to decline, because the market sees the Fed cutting another 25 basis points in its October meeting. For now it still looks like a healthy correction," Yan said

Investors await a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting at the end of the month that could offer further signs of monetary easing. Lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion. [FED/DIARY]

"Though we remain optimistic on safe haven appeal for Q4, traders should take caution at key support level of $1,480 as strong technical selling may drive gold prices towards $1,473 and $1,459 in the near term," Phillip Futures analyst Benjamin Lu said.

Among other precious metals, silver rose 0.1% to $17.58 an ounce, extending gains for a fifth straight session. Platinum dipped 0.1% to $886.63 and palladium gained 0.5% to $1,766.32 an ounce.

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