April 20, 2018 / 12:05 PM / 7 months ago

PRECIOUS-Gold slips on U.S. rate rise view, easing global tensions

    * Gold long positions being closed -analyst
    * Silver off 2-1/2-month highs hit in previous session
    * Platinum down from Thursday's 3-week highs 
    * GRAPHIC-2018 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl

 (New throughout, updates prices, market activity and comments,
adds second byline, NEW YORK dateline)
    By Renita D. Young and Zandi Shabalala
    NEW YORK/LONDON, April 20 (Reuters) - Gold prices eased on
Friday and were on track to end the week lower as the dollar
advanced on expectations of higher U.S. interest rates and
market players grew a bit less worried about global political
and security risks.
    Spot gold        lost 0.6 percent at $1,336.96 per ounce by
1:36 p.m. EDT (1736 GMT), while U.S. gold June futures        
settled down $10.50, or 0.8 percent, at $1,338.30. Spot gold was
headed for a weekly decline of nearly 1 percent.
    Investors were less jittery about geopolitical tensions that
had supported gold prices earlier in the week, notably Syria and
North Korea.             
    "Of course, the geopolitical risks are still high compared
to the beginning of the year but it seems like they are slightly
lower than a few days ago so prices have come off the boiler a
bit," Capital Economics commodities economist Simona Gambarini
said.
    Gold is often used as safe haven in times of uncertainty.
    Also pressuring bullion, a U.S. central banker said the
Federal Reserve should keep raising interest rates this year and
next to keep the economy from overheating and financial
stability risks from rising.                          
    Higher rates dent the appeal of non-interest yielding
bullion while lifting the dollar, in which it is priced.
    The dollar index        gained against a basket of major
currencies.       
    Investors were also relieved that no new U.S. demands on
trade came out of a summit between Japanese Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe and Trump.             
    "Gold is really in a $1,300-$1,360 trading range," said Bill
O’Neill, partner at Logic Advisors. "Gold is just in a wait and
see pattern now. It's clearly not capable of really floating
up."
    Meanwhile, spot silver        lost 0.5 percent at $17.13 per
ounce, but up more than 3 percent for the week.
    Platinum        fell 0.6 percent at $927.40 per ounce, on
track for a 0.6 percent weekly decline.
    Palladium        added 1.1 percent at $1,036.50 per ounce
ending the week nearly 5 percent higher.
    It recently rose as concerns that supply from No. 1 producer
Russia could be disrupted by U.S. sanctions fed into a strong
technical rebound following the metal's 20 percent fall from its
January record high.
    "We do not envisage palladium being affected by any
sanctions because the United States would shoot itself in the
foot by doing so," Commerzbank said, adding the country was a
large palladium importer.

 (Additional reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru;
editing by David Gregorio and Louise Ireland)
  
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