November 29, 2019 / 3:49 PM / 6 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold faces worst month since June 2018; markets seek clarity on trade talks

 (Updates prices)
    * Gold on track for best year since 2010
    * Palladium hits record high of $1,844.50/oz
    * Palladium set for fourth consecutive monthly gain
    * GRAPHIC-2019 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl

    By Karthika Suresh Namboothiri
    Nov 29 (Reuters) - Gold prices gained on Friday as markets
awaited further developments on U.S.-China trade talks after
Beijing said it would retaliate against Washington for passing a
law in support of Hong Kong protesters.
    However, the metal was on track for its biggest monthly
decline since June 2018.
    Spot gold        was up 0.4% at $1,463.59 an ounce as of
01:56 p.m. ET (1856 GMT). It has shed around 3.3% this month.
U.S. gold futures         settled 0.6% higher at $1,470.20 per
ounce.
    China warned on Thursday it would take "firm counter
measures" in response to U.S. legislation backing
anti-government protesters in Hong Kong.             
    "(The signing of the bill) takes another step back at the
possibility of a trade agreement with China, which really upset
them quite a bit. That is why we saw equities come off and gold
futures push up," said Phillip Streible, senior commodities
strategist at RJO Futures.   
    Investors have been optimistic about an imminent "phase-one"
trade deal between the world's two largest economies, lifting
world stocks to record levels and dampening demand for safe
haven assets such as bullion.            
    Gold, a hedge during times of financial or political
uncertainty, pays no interest or dividends and costs money to
store and insure.
    However, gold prices were still on track for their best year
since 2010, having gained 13.5% so far in 2019. Uncertainties
surrounding the long-drawn trade war and recessionary fears have
provided support.
    "Gold has managed to hold above $1,450 since there is some
bargain hunting. This is a good entry level for the ones who
missed out previously," said UBS commodity analyst Giovanni
Staunovo.
    Investors are closely watching U.S. data for signs on the
health of the world's largest economy, which could influence the
U.S. Federal Reserve in its decision on further monetary easing.
          
    Reduced expectations of further interest rate cuts by the
Fed has weighed on spot gold prices, RJO Futures' Streible
added. "We could go down to $1,425 by the end of the year."
    Among other precious metals, silver        gained 0.8%
at$17.01 an ounce. Platinum        dropped 0.7% to $895.25 in
the session, but extended gains for a third straight week.
    Palladium        was steady at $1,840.52 per ounce. The
autocatalyst metal notched a fresh high of $1,844.50 earlier in
the session and was on track for a fourth consecutive monthly
gain.

 (Reporting by Karthika Suresh Namboothiri in Bengaluru
Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Richard Chang)
  
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