November 20, 2019 / 4:33 AM / 20 days ago

PRECIOUS-Gold gains on U.S.-China tensions; markets eye Fed minutes

    * U.S. Fed minutes from October meeting due at 1900 GMT
    * China condemns U.S. Senate measure on Hong Kong
    * Gold may rise to $1,480-$1,485/oz range- technicals

 (Updates prices, adds comment)
    By Sumita Layek
    Nov 20 (Reuters) - Gold prices firmed on Wednesday as trade
and political tensions ratcheted up between United States and
China, while investors awaited minutes from the U.S. Federal
Reserve's October meeting.
    Spot gold        rose 0.2% to $1,475.63 per ounce by 0742
GMT. U.S. gold futures        were unchanged at $1,474.00 per
ounce.
    U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened to raise
tariffs on Chinese imports if no deal is reached with Beijing.
            
    The U.S. Senate passed a bill backing human rights in Hong
Kong and passed a second legislation to ban export of certain
munitions to Hong Kong police forces. China condemned the moves
and summoned an U.S. embassy official to demand that the U.S.
stop its meddling.                                       
    "There are concerns that the latest bill passed in the U.S.
in support of the Hong Kong protesters might derail the progress
in the U.S.-China trade deal," Ilya Spivak, a senior currency
strategist at DailyFx said.
    However, gains in gold are limited as investors are "not
quite prepared to take a firm bet ahead of the U.S. Federal
Reserve's minutes," Spivak added.
    Investors are awaiting minutes from the Fed's October policy
meeting, due at 1900 GMT, for further cues on the monetary
policy outlook.              
    The U.S. central bank cut interest rates thrice this year to
help sustain U.S. growth, but had signalled last month that
there would be no further cuts unless the economy takes a turn
for the worse.             
    "Given the trade risks, the decline in manufacturing
activity globally, there could be one more rate cut (in the next
year), but overall there will be a longer pause," said Hitesh
Jain, vice president, Yes Securities.
    Lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost for holding
the non-yielding bullion.
    Asian shares moved lower on conflicting messages on the
trade front, in contrast to the strong rallies seen recently in
global equities markets.            
    "The precious metal, though facing bearish pressures over a
strong rally in the equities market, will remain vigorous over
subdued global growth and geopolitical uncertainties in Q4,"
Phillip Futures analyst Benjamin Lu said in a note.
    In Hong Kong, the last band of anti-government protesters
trapped inside a besieged Hong Kong university were weighing a
narrowing range of options as police outside appeared ready to
simply wait them out.            
    Spot gold may rise into a range of $1,480-$1,485 per ounce,
according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.         
    Elsewhere, silver        was unchanged at $17.13 per ounce,
while palladium        fell 0.2% to $1,759.49 per ounce. 
    Platinum        was down 0.2% to $908.47 per ounce.

 (Reporting by Sumita Layek in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh
Kuber)
  
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