January 15, 2020 / 11:30 AM / 9 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold rises on U.S.-China trade concerns; platinum hits near 2-year peak

(Adds comments, updates prices)

* Palladium hits record high of $2,235/oz

* Platinum surpasses $1,000 for first time in nearly 2 years

* U.S.-China ‘Phase 1’ trade deal to be signed later in the day

By K. Sathya Narayanan

Jan 15 (Reuters) - Gold on Wednesday rose from an over one-week low hit in the last session on renewed worries about U.S.-China relations ahead of the signing of an initial trade deal.

Among other precious metals, palladium climbed to a record high and platinum surged to its highest in nearly two years.

Just a day before the signing an interim trade deal, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday said tariffs on Chinese goods would be in place until the completion of a Phase 2 agreement.

Spot gold rose 0.4% to $1,552.08 per ounce as of 1341 GMT, having slipped to a more than one-week low of $1,535.63 in the previous session. U.S. gold futures gained 0.5% to $1,552.60.

“The market is uncertain regarding the deal between U.S. and China, while somewhat weaker equity markets and weaker U.S. dollar are (also) supporting gold prices,” Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg said.

“The tariffs are not to be reduced any further until the U.S. election cycle is over in November and that doesn’t help in bringing in the confidence into the market.”

World stocks eased off record highs as euphoria over the trade deal depleted.

Keeping the tariffs could reduce the economic benefits of the Phase 1 deal by limiting China’s access to one of its largest trading markets.

“The hypothetical Phase 2 will take time and there is now no certainty on this. For this reason, it’s very little surprise to see gold in green, recovering to the threshold of $1,550,” Carlo Alberto De Casa, Chief analyst at ActivTrades said in a note.

Also on investors’ radar was the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book, a summary of commentary on economic conditions, due at 1900 GMT.

Bolstered by a prolonged supply deficit, auto-catalyst palladium notched a record high of $2,235 an ounce earlier in the session, and was last up 1.6% at $2,230.38.

“We don’t believe that the all-time high level (for palladium) will be a deterrent for fresh buying!” MKS traders wrote in a note.

“Any correction should be met with aggressive buying and remain short-lived. We expect palladium to remain in the spotlight again this year.”

Platinum climbed 2.9% to $1,012.13, having risen to its highest since February 2018 at $1,013.57 an ounce.

“People are just taking positions because of platinum’s discount to palladium in terms of the spread. People are coming in and doing some bargain hunting,” INTL FCStone analyst Rhona O’Connell said.

Silver rose 0.2% to $17.83 per ounce.

Reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan and Swati Verma in Bengaluru; editing by Louise Heavens and Mark Potter

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