Gold falls on China tariff move, but set for a weekly gain

By Asha Sistla
FILE PHOTO: Employees process ingots of 99.99 percent pure gold at the Krastsvetmet non-ferrous metals plant in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk

By Asha Sistla

(Reuters) - Gold prices slipped on Friday after China's announcement to waive import tariffs on some American goods, but bullion was still poised for a weekly gain ahead of a U.S. jobs report that could offer further insight on the state of the economy.

Spot gold was down 0.2% at $1,473.16 an ounce at 0802 GMT. U.S. gold futures fell 0.3% to $1,478.00.

Despite some losses, bullion is still headed for a second straight weekly gain, up about 0.7% for the week so far. The metal hit a one-month high of $1,484 an ounce on Wednesday.

"This week gold continued to march on the higher side and today we can see some profit booking," said Ajay Kedia, director at Kedia Advisory in Mumbai, adding that China's move on Friday was pressuring prices further.

China's finance ministry said that import tariffs for some pork and soybeans from the United States will be waived, indicating a positive move to de-escalate the trade war ahead of U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods effective from Dec. 15.

U.S. President Donald Trump also said on Thursday that the trade talks were "moving right along" but some in the market remained cautious.

"We have seen U.S. and China taking one step at a time and then we see that the deal is not going on - every time there is a new twist in the deal. So, unless this deal doesn't close, uncertainty will prevail in the market," Kedia added.

The positive comments supported Asian stocks, weighing on bullion, which is favoured in times of political and financial uncertainty.

"If the trade talks break down, then the price could spike up. Otherwise, we (expect gold to continue consolidating towards the year-end," said Margaret Yang Yan, a market analyst at CMC Markets.

"It's completely different from earlier in the year when gold was absolutely the star."

Bullion has gained 15% so far this year, which could be its biggest annual rise since 2010, mainly due to the trade war.

Traders are now bracing for the U.S. non-farm payrolls report due later on Friday to determine how well the U.S. economy is holding up, after a series of weak U.S. economic data reports.

In other precious metals, palladium was unchanged at $1,871.34, having notched a record high of $1,876.54 an ounce on Thursday on supply concerns for the auto catalyst metal.

Platinum was flat at $896.63, while silver fell 0.3% to $16.89. Both were headed for their first weekly decline in four.

(Reporting by Asha Sistla in Bengaluru; Editing by Tom Hogue and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)