Gold hits three-month low, faces biggest weekly drop in three years

By K. Sathya Narayanan
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 K. Sathya Narayanan

(Reuters) - Gold extended losses to hit a three-month low on Friday as positive developments around the U.S.-China trade deal tarnished the metal's safe-haven appeal, putting the metal on track for its biggest weekly decline in three years.

Spot gold <XAU=> was down 0.2% at $1,464.84 per ounce as of 10:46 a.m. EST (1546 GMT), poised for its biggest weekly drop - about 3.2% - since November 2016. It fell to its lowest level since Aug. 5 at $1,455.80 earlier.

U.S. gold futures <GCcv1> was steady at $1,465.90.

"We are seeing a rally in risk markets, dollar surge and equities reaching all time high. There had been a portion of long positions built up in the last few months and we are starting to see those liquidating," said Ryan McKay, a commodity strategist at TD Securities.

"(Also,) we have had a lot of optimism on the trade front, a lot of news on potential rollback on tariffs and the China deal, which had been the major headwind for growth throughout the last year."

Tariffs could be lifted amid the U.S.-China trade deal if an agreement is reached, a White House spokeswoman said, giving no further details.

The dollar <.DXY> hit a three-week high against key rivals, while the world stock markets were cautious, a day after they surged to a 21-month high.

Uncertainty about the trade talks, however, prevailed as U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday told reporters that he has not agreed to roll back tariffs on China.

"We are trading on a lot of speculation right now and there's no solid evidence or anything specific," said Craig Erlam, OANDA senior market analyst, adding gold could move back to $1,440 if a "phase 1" trade deal were signed next month.

The Sino-U.S. trade war was one of the key reasons for bullion, which is considered as a safer asset during economic and political uncertainties, to have risen about 14% so far this year.

Gold also benefited from dovish monetary policies by global central banks along with the Federal Reserve, which had slashed its benchmark interest rate for the third time this year.

However, the Fed's decision to hold back on further cuts until the economy takes a downturn weighed on the bullion, analysts said.

Elsewhere, silver <XAG=> dropped 1% to $16.94 per ounce, having touched its lowest since Aug. 13, and was set to post its steepest weekly drop since October 2016.

Platinum <XPT=> fell 2.1% to $889.60 per ounce, poised for a weekly drop, while palladium <XPD=> lost 2.9% to $1,749.76 and was headed for its first weekly decline in five.


(Reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan and Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Marguerita Choy)