December 27, 2019 / 4:04 PM / a month ago

PRECIOUS-Gold inches up, on track for best week in four months

 (Updates prices)
    * Silver extends gains into third consecutive week
    * Wall Street opens at record high
    * GRAPHIC-2019 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl

    By Karthika Suresh Namboothiri and Diptendu Lahiri
    Dec 27 (Reuters) - Gold edged higher on Friday and was set
for its best week in more than four months, as volumes remained
thin in cautious holiday trade, supported by global economic
growth concerns and U.S.-China trade uncertainties.
    Spot gold        was up 0.1% at $1,513.36 per ounce as of
01:30 p.m. ET (1830 GMT), having risen to a near two-month high
of $1.515.09 in the session. It has gained over 2% so far this
week, the most since the week ended Aug. 9.
    U.S. gold futures         settled 0.2% higher at $1,518.10
per ounce.
    "The U.S.-China trade deal, although it has a lot of
positive news flowing in, has nothing yet on paper under a seal.
That is keeping investors a little cautious," said Chris
Gaffney, president of world markets at TIAA Bank.
    Beijing said on Wednesday it was in close touch with
Washington on a trade deal signing ceremony, a day after U.S.
President Donald Trump said he and Chinese President Xi Jinping
would have such an event.             
    However, with expectations that the Phase 1 deal would have
been stamped much before the end of the year, investors are wary
with every passing headline.
    The 17-month long trade spat between the world's two largest
economies has compelled numerous central banks to resort to
monetary easing.
    Gold benefits from an environment of lower interest rates as
it yields no interest.
    "On the other hand a positive note on the global economic
environment is boosting equities and weighing on gold prices.
The volumes are also pretty low," Gaffney added.
    Wall Street opened at a record high on Friday, and world
stocks hovered near an all-time peak.                 
    Profits at industrial companies in China in November grew at
the fastest pace in eight months, breaking a three-month
declining streak, as production and sales quickened.
            
    Investors are optimistic that gold prices will go up in the
near future, and are buying when prices go down, said Michael
Matousek, head trader at U.S. Global Investors.
    Economic and geopolitical uncertainties and a debt
environment are also providing support to gold prices, he added.
    Elsewhere, silver        eased 0.3% to $17.84 an ounce. It
was up nearly 4% for the week, extending gains into a third
week.
    Platinum        edged 0.1% higher to $947.58 an ounce, while
palladium        gained 0.3% to $1,905.57 an ounce, up nearly 3%
in the week.

    
 (Reporting by Karthika Suresh Namboothiri and Diptendu Lahiri
in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Chang)
  
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