August 2, 2019 / 5:00 AM / 4 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold drifts lower after Trump's tariff threat sparks rally

* SPDR Gold holdings rose 0.5% on Thursday

* Spot gold may retest resistance at $1,449/oz -techs

* Palladium on track for worst week in 4 months

* Platinum, silver set for first weekly decline in four (Updates prices)

By Harshith Aranya

Aug 2 (Reuters) - Gold prices fell nearly 1% on Friday, as investors booked profit after U.S. President Donald Trump’s fresh salvo in the year-long trade spat with China increased demand for the safe-haven metal in the previous session.

Spot gold was down 0.5% at $1,438.16 per ounce as of 0735 GMT, after hitting a two-week high of $1,446.10 earlier in the session.

The metal has risen about 1.4% so far this week, heading for a third weekly gain in four.

U.S. gold futures rose 1% to $1,446.80 an ounce.

“Escalation in trade war between the U.S. and China has caused a spike in gold futures. We believe that prices might even go higher from current levels,” said Kunal Shah, head of research at Nirmal Bang Commodities in Mumbai, India.

“We have strong resistance around $1,450, and people are taking some profits,” he added.

The metal jumped more than 2% on Thursday after Trump said he would impose an additional 10% tariff on $300 billion worth of Chinese imports from next month, intensifying the bruising trade war between the world’s two top economies that has roiled financial markets globally.

Trump also said if trade negotiations fail to progress he could raise tariffs further - even beyond the 25% levy he has already imposed on $250 billion of imports from China.

“Any escalation in Sino-U.S. trade tensions will likely trap the Federal Reserve on a dovish slope – reigniting market-implied rate cut pricing,” OCBC analysts said in a note.

The October Fed funds rate futures have jumped to now fully price in a rate cut in September, compared with only around 60% before the tariff announcement. Another 25 basis point move is priced in by December.

Lower U.S. interest rates put pressure on the dollar and bond yields, increasing the appeal of non-yielding bullion.

The dollar index was steady on Friday after posting its biggest daily decline in two weeks in the previous session.

Market participants are now awaiting the release of U.S. non-farm payrolls data due later in the day.

Meanwhile, holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.53% to 827.82 tonnes on Thursday from on Wednesday.

Spot gold may retest a resistance at $1,449 per ounce, a break above which could lead to a gain into the range of $1,461-$1,474, said Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

Elsewhere, palladium was up 0.3% at $1,427.75 per ounce after falling to a seven-week low in the previous session, and was on track for its worst week in four months.

Platinum was flat at $848.69 an ounce, while silver fell 1% to $16.16.

Both silver and platinum were headed for their first weekly decline in four.

Reporting by Harshith Aranya and Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu & Uttaresh.V

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