December 30, 2019 / 3:51 PM / 7 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold inches up on growth concerns as dollar dips

 (Updates prices)
    * Dollar extends falls into third session
    * SPDR Gold Trust rises to 893.25 tonnes on Friday
    * GRAPHIC-2019 asset returns:

    By Karthika Suresh Namboothiri
    Dec 30 (Reuters) - Gold prices gained on Monday as global
economic growth concerns kept prices propped above $1,500 an
ounce and expectations of a U.S.-China trade deal reduced
safe-haven buying of the weakening dollar.
    Spot gold        rose 0.3% to $1,515.26 per ounce as of 1:32
p.m. ET (1832 GMT). Prices added 2.2% in the previous week,
marking their best week since early August.
    U.S. gold futures         settled unchanged at $1,518.60 an
    "The major driver behind gold’s appreciation is the dollar
weakness," said FXTM analyst Lukman Otunuga, adding that bullion
could extend gains into 2020 if trade developments between the
two nations turned south.
    "We haven’t heard the details (of the deal) yet and at the
same time it has not been signed on paper."
    Thin end-of-year volumes exacerbated the broad weakness in
the dollar       , which dipped for three straight sessions, and
on Friday suffered its biggest one-day fall since March.       
    Although the finer details of the agreement have not yet
been disclosed, the South China Morning Post reported on Monday
that Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will visit Washington this week
to sign the pact.              
    Gold has gained about 18% in 2019 on the back of global
recessionary fears, triggered by the long-drawn out trade spat
between the world's two largest economies, and quantitative
easing by major central banks.
    "As long as gold is able to keep above this psychological
level of $1,500, we will see gold challenging $1,535 and $1,550
during the first quarter of 2020," FXTM's Otunuga said.
    Indicative of investor sentiment, holdings of the world's
largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust      ,
rose 0.1% to 893.25 tonnes on Friday, their highest since Nov.
    "Gold has punched through the $1,500 level over the past
week and is approaching a two-month high following a technical
breakout, supplemented by a weakening dollar," said INTL FCStone
analyst Rhona O'Connell in a note.
    Amongst other precious metals, silver        added 1% to
$17.93 an ounce and platinum        jumped 1.6% to $960.
Palladium        inched 0.2% higher to $1,908.58.

 (Reporting by Karthika Suresh Namboothiri in Bengaluru; editing
by Nick Macfie and Nick Zieminski)
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