December 27, 2019 / 5:48 AM / a month ago

PRECIOUS-Gold slips from 2-month high on profit-taking; eyes best week in 4 months

 (Updates prices and adds comments)
    * Bullion on track for best week in over four months
    * SPDR Gold holdings rise to highest since Nov. 29
    * Silver poised for best week since late August

    By Asha Sistla
    Dec 27 (Reuters) - Gold prices eased from a near two-month
high hit earlier on Friday as investors booked profits amid thin
trade in a holiday lull, but the metal was still on course for
its biggest weekly gain since early August.
    Spot gold        fell 0.2% to $1,508.92 per ounce by 0832
GMT. U.S. gold futures         were flat at $1,513.70 per ounce.
    "It is the last trading day of the week and we are expecting
some winding up of positions. We can't say fundamentals are
responsible and it's just healthy profit-booking," said Vandana
Bharti, assistant vice-president of commodity research at SMC
Comtrade.
    Gold prices rose to their highest since early November at
1,513.88 earlier in the session and has gained over 2% so far
this week, the most since Aug. 9. 
    "It is a combination of things happening here - there's risk
hedging in the market ahead of the year-end, we broke $1,485
which likely triggered stop-loss buying and pushed gold upto
$1,500," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst, Asia
Pacific at OANDA.
    Bullion is also on track to register its best year since
2010, gaining nearly 18% so far this year, owing to a
17-month-long tariff war between the world's top two economies.
    "Phase one deal is already done, but how it will materialise
is a matter of concern. They have cancelled further imposition
of import duty but they didn't talk about the tariffs already
imposed on U.S. and China," SMC Comtrade's Bharti added.
    Meanwhile, news that Russia could consider a part-investment
of its National Wealth Fund in gold prevented the precious metal
from falling further. 
    Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Tuesday he
saw investment in the metal as more sustainable in the long-term
than in financial assets.              
    "If Russia starts holding gold, being one of the biggest
suppliers to the market, that would significantly dampen
supplies. This is a significant macro driver," said Stephen
Innes, a market strategist at AxiTrader.
    Indicative of investor interest in bullion, holdings in the
world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold
Trust      , rose 0.4% to 892.37 tonnes, its highest since Nov.
29.          
    Elsewhere, silver        fell 0.4% to $17.82 per ounce, but
was on track for its best week since late August.
    Palladium        advanced 0.5% to $1,910.28 per ounce, while
platinum        fell 0.1% to $946.21.

 (Reporting by Asha Sistla in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich
and Subhranshu Sahu and Louise Heavens)
  
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