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Eileen Soreng

PRECIOUS-Gold gains as lack of details on trade deal lifts demand

13 Dec 2019

(Recasts, adds comments, details, updates prices) * Gold on track for best week in nearly 3-months * U.S. dollar holds near 5-month low * Palladium hits record high of $1,979.95/oz * Silver, platinum eyes best week since October By Eileen Soreng Dec 13 Gold prices rose on Friday as investors remained cautious about the developments in the United States and China trade negotiations, while political uncertainties in the world's biggest economy further boosted the metal's safe-haven appeal. Spot gold was up 0.5% at $1,477.09 per ounce by 1:42 p.m ET (1842 GMT) and with gains of more than 1.2% so far this week, the yellow metal is on track for its best week in nearly three-months. U.S. gold futures settled up 0.6% at $1,481.20. China will likely hit $50 billion in purchases of U.S. agricultural products, U.S. President Donald Trump said on after earlier announcing that he would roll back scheduled tariffs on Chinese imports as Washington and Beijing finalized an initial trade deal. "Although there seems to be some progress, the lack of details is causing a lot of concern that we're not as far along in the trade deal as people would like and as a result we are getting a flight to safety," said Jeffrey Sica, founder of Circle Squared Alternative Investments. Stocks swung between gains and losses, as investors were confused about signs of progress despite positive comments from both sides. "The fact that gold is trading near $1,475 shows that there is still good interest in gold market... Although we have seen some risk appetite emerging on the back of phase one trade deal, other uncertainties continue to linger around U.S. political outlook," Standard Chartered Bank analyst Suki Cooper said. A Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives committee approved charges of abuse of power and obstruction against Republican President Donald Trump on Friday, making it almost certain he will become the third American president in history to be impeached. The dollar fell against a basket of currencies helping dollar-denominated gold edge higher. Elsewhere, palladium fell 0.8% to $1,923.14 an ounce, having notched up an all-time high of $1,979.95. "The auto sector is gradually gaining steam and with palladium being used as an autocatalyst in cars, demand is going up, while the supply still remains a constraint," said Quantitative Commodity Research analyst Peter Fertig. Plagued by a supply deficit, the metal has gained about 2.5% so far this week, predominantly supported by mine closures across major producer South Africa. Platinum fell 1.9% to $925.71 per ounce, but was up about 3.5% for the week. Silver inched down 0.2% at $16.90 but was set to record its best weekly gain since the end of October. (Reporting by Eileen Soreng and Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Chizu Nomiyama)

India's fuel demand growth hits near two-year high in November

12 Dec 2019

India's fuel demand grew by 10.5% in November from a year earlier, its fastest pace since January 2018, driven by higher consumption of transport fuels gasoil and gasoline, and cooking gas.

PRECIOUS-Palladium eyes $1,900 in record surge; gold firms on trade doubts

09 Dec 2019

(Updates prices) * Palladium hits all-time high of $1,898.50/oz * Palladium to be in deficit for foreseeable future- analyst * FOMC meeting commences on Tuesday By Eileen Soreng Dec 9 Palladium soared to a record just shy of the $1,900 mark on Monday, while gold prices held steady as uncertainty over U.S.-China trade talks took center stage ahead of a Dec. 15 deadline for fresh U.S. tariffs. Autocatalyst metal palladium climbed to an all-time high of $1,898.50 an ounce and was last up 0.3% at $1,883.29 at 01:50 p.m. ET (1850 GMT) "Palladium has a very strong fundamental backdrop with supply set to stay quite scarce and demand growth set to increase," said Daniel Ghali, commodity strategist at TD Securities. Palladium has risen nearly 50% in 2019 on a sustained supply squeeze, and has constantly been breaking records, despite a weakening global auto sector. Increasingly stringent emissions regulations globally are raising the palladium in autocatalysts for gasoline-powered cars and 2020 could see the most number of regulations, Ghali added. "There is a widespread expectation that (palladium) spot prices are headed towards $2,000 and the market does currently appear to be in a one-way street," INTL FCStone analyst Rhona O'Connell said in a note. "Even with the (auto) sector under pressure, palladium will be in deficit for the foreseeable future and the funds are chasing it higher." Elsewhere, spot gold was steady at $1,459.52 per ounce. U.S. gold futures settled mostly unchanged at $1,464.90. "The tariff deadline of Dec. 15 is certainly top of everyone's mind ... The situation is still uncertain, helping gold stay firm," TD Securities' Ghali said. China said on Monday it hoped to make a trade deal with the United States as soon as possible, as Washington's next round of tariffs against Chinese goods is scheduled to take effect on Dec. 15. Also supporting bullion, equity markets were further pressured after China's exports shrank in November. Markets now await the U.S. Federal Reserve's two-day meeting starting on Tuesday for cues on its monetary policy. The central bank is expected to highlight the economy's resilience and keep interest rates on hold in the range of 1.50% to 1.75%. U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs said investment demand for gold would be supported by recession fears and political uncertainty, forecasting prices at $1,600 an ounce over a three- and 12-month period. Platinum eased 0.1% to $894.72 per ounce, while silver edged 0.1% higher to $16.58. (Reporting by Eileen Soreng and Karthika Suresh Namboothiri in Bengaluru; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Lisa Shumaker)

Palladium eyes $1,900 in record surge, gold firms on trade doubts

09 Dec 2019

Palladium soared to a record just shy of the $1,900 mark on Monday, while gold edged higher as uncertainty over U.S.-China trade talks took center stage ahead of a Dec. 15 deadline for fresh U.S. tariffs.

PRECIOUS-Gold slips 1% after robust U.S. jobs data; palladium soars

06 Dec 2019

(Updates prices, adds market details) * Nonfarm payrolls increase 266,000 in November * Palladium scales fresh record peak of $1,880.37/oz * Silver hits four-month low * GRAPHIC-2019 asset returns: http://tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl By Eileen Soreng Dec 6 Gold slid 1% on Friday as strong U.S. jobs data renewed bets the Federal Reserve would stand pat on interest rates and also boosted demand for riskier assets, while supply-squeezed palladium soared to a new record high. U.S. job growth increased by the most in 10 months in November, confirming the economy remained on a moderate expansion path despite a prolonged manufacturing slump. Spot gold slipped 1% to $1,460.39 per ounce by 1:50 p.m. EST (1850 GMT). Bullion has fallen nearly 0.3% so far this week. U.S. gold futures settled down 1.2% at $1,465.10 per ounce. "The better-than-expected jobs report has dented demand for safe-haven products such as gold," said David Meger, director of metals trading at High Ridge Futures. The jobs data pushed up the dollar, while U.S. stocks jumped as the positive economic readings added to an upbeat mood after U.S. President Donald Trump said trade talks with China were "moving right along". In a positive gesture, China said it will waive import tariffs for some soybeans and pork shipments from the United States. Looking ahead, the market focus will be on the Fed's meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday next week. The U.S. central bank is expected to keep interest rates on hold at 1.50% to 1.75% . "The (jobs) report falls squarely to the camp of the U.S. monetary policy hawks who do not want to see interest rates rise anytime soon, and that is bearish for the metals market," said Kitco Metals senior analyst Jim Wyckoff. Lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion and weigh on the dollar. "On the technical side, a close below the $1,460-65 area could open gold up to the $1,445-47 November lows, and beyond that towards $1,400-$1,420 congestion area over the summer," said Tai Wong, head of base and precious metals derivatives trading at BMO. Elsewhere, autocatalyst metal palladium continued scaling fresh peaks, hitting $1,880.65 an ounce for the first time. "The demand for palladium is typically steady and practically price-inelastic, so it could be on its way to the $1,900 mark. The strong jobs numbers are helping the metal since jobs growth indicates a healthy economy and translates into more people buying cars," BMO's Wong said. Other metals latched on to gold's slide, with silver falling 2.2% to $16.57 per ounce, having earlier touched a low since Aug. 7 at $16.50. Platinum fell 0.6% to $891.68. (Reporting by Eileen Soreng, Arpan Varghese and Harshith Aranya in Bengaluru Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Matthew Lewis)

RPT-PRECIOUS-Gold firms as U.S.-China trade uncertainty persists

05 Dec 2019

(Repeats to change metadata) * Palladium marks fresh high of $1,876.54/oz * U.S. trade deficit falls 7.6% to $47.2 bln in October * U.S. weekly jobless claims decline 10,000 to 203,000 * GRAPHIC-2019 asset returns: http://tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl By Eileen Soreng Dec 5 Gold edged higher on Thursday as uncertainty emerging from mixed messages on the U.S-China trade negotiations offset headwinds from positive economic data out of the United States, while deficit-hit palladium extended a record surge. Spot gold was up 0.2% at $1,477.12 per ounce by 1:33 p.m. EST (1833 GMT), having hit its highest since Nov. 7 at $1,484 the previous day. U.S. gold futures settled up 0.2% at $1,483.10 per ounce. "We're seeing safe haven demand for gold," said Quantitative Commodity Research analyst Peter Fertig. "As long as (U.S. President Donald) Trump does not make a clear statement about what he wants, the markets will remain puzzled," said Fertig. Tariffs must be cut if Washington and Beijing are to reach an interim trade agreement, the Chinese commerce ministry said on Thursday. This came a day after Trump said trade talks were going "very well," which were in contrast to his previous comments, suggesting a deal might have to wait until after the 2020 U.S. presidential election, denting risk appetite. On the technical side, a break below the key support around $1,450 could prompt a test of the $1,400 level, Standard Chartered Bank analyst Suki Cooper said in a note. "For now, the physical market is providing a sufficient cushion against the downside, and we believe the macro environment presents upside risk to prices in 2020." Also helping gold, the dollar slipped versus major currencies, making the metal cheaper for investors holding other currencies. Limiting the upside for safe-haven bullion, however, were positive economic readings from the United States. Data showed initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped to the lowest level since mid-April for the week ended Nov. 30, while U.S. trade deficit dipped to its lowest level in nearly 1-1/2 years in October. Elsewhere, palladium continued its record run, scaling an all-time peak of $1,876.54 an ounce on concerns over supply of the auto catalyst metal. It was last up 0.1% at $1,871.93. "Constrained mine supply and growing demand should send palladium into its ninth straight year of market deficit in 2020," UBS commodity analyst Giovanni Staunovo said in a note. Among other metals, platinum rose 0.4% to $897.88 while silver climbed 0.8% to $16.95. (Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru Editing by Marguerita Choy and Tom Brown)

PRECIOUS-Gold firms as U.S.-China trade uncertainty persists

05 Dec 2019

(Updates prices) * Palladium marks fresh high of $1,876.54/oz * U.S. trade deficit falls 7.6% to $47.2 bln in October * U.S. weekly jobless claims decline 10,000 to 203,000 * GRAPHIC-2019 asset returns: http://tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl By Eileen Soreng Dec 5 Gold edged higher on Thursday as uncertainty emerging from mixed messages on the U.S-China trade negotiations offset headwinds from positive economic data out of the United States, while deficit-hit palladium extended a record surge. Spot gold was up 0.2% at $1,477.12 per ounce by 1:33 p.m. EST (1833 GMT), having hit its highest since Nov. 7 at $1,484 the previous day. U.S. gold futures settled up 0.2% at $1,483.10 per ounce. "We're seeing safe haven demand for gold," said Quantitative Commodity Research analyst Peter Fertig. "As long as (U.S. President Donald) Trump does not make a clear statement about what he wants, the markets will remain puzzled," said Fertig. Tariffs must be cut if Washington and Beijing are to reach an interim trade agreement, the Chinese commerce ministry said on Thursday. This came a day after Trump said trade talks were going "very well," which were in contrast to his previous comments, suggesting a deal might have to wait until after the 2020 U.S. presidential election, denting risk appetite. On the technical side, a break below the key support around $1,450 could prompt a test of the $1,400 level, Standard Chartered Bank analyst Suki Cooper said in a note. "For now, the physical market is providing a sufficient cushion against the downside, and we believe the macro environment presents upside risk to prices in 2020." Also helping gold, the dollar slipped versus major currencies, making the metal cheaper for investors holding other currencies. Limiting the upside for safe-haven bullion, however, were positive economic readings from the United States. Data showed initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped to the lowest level since mid-April for the week ended Nov. 30, while U.S. trade deficit dipped to its lowest level in nearly 1-1/2 years in October. Elsewhere, palladium continued its record run, scaling an all-time peak of $1,876.54 an ounce on concerns over supply of the auto catalyst metal. It was last up 0.1% at $1,871.93. "Constrained mine supply and growing demand should send palladium into its ninth straight year of market deficit in 2020," UBS commodity analyst Giovanni Staunovo said in a note. Among other metals, platinum rose 0.4% to $897.88 while silver climbed 0.8% to $16.95. (Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru Editing by Marguerita Choy and Tom Brown)

PRECIOUS-Gold steadies after weak U.S. data; palladium zooms past $1,860/oz

02 Dec 2019

(Updates prices) * Unexpected drop in U.S. construction spending in Oct. * Trump to restore tariffs on imports from Brazil, Argentina * GRAPHIC-2019 asset returns: http://tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl By Karthika Suresh Namboothiri and Eileen Soreng Dec 2 Gold steadied on Monday after paring losses as weak U.S. manufacturing data rekindled worries about a slowing economy, while palladium exceeded $1,860 per ounce in its week-long surge to new all-time highs on a supply crunch. Spot gold was flat at $1,463.96 per ounce by 1:46 p.m. ET (1846 GMT). U.S. gold futures settled 0.2% lower at $1,469.20. Gold initially fell to a low of $1,453.60 per ounce on a stronger dollar and as better-than-expected manufacturing data from China propped up equities. However, U.S. stock indices dropped and the dollar slipped on data showing an unexpected drop on construction spending in October as investment in private projects tumbled to a three-year low. "Market started the day on a risk-on tone, but got caught off guard when the ISM data was a bit weaker-than-expected. We saw equities, yields and the dollar all correct, which has helped gold a bit," said Ryan McKay, a commodity strategist at TD Securities. World equities began the week on a strong footing after a private business survey showed Chinese factory activity expanded at the quickest pace in almost three years in November. However, markets reversed course following a report that U.S. President Donald Trump said he would immediately restore tariffs on U.S. steel and aluminium imports from Brazil and Argentina. Investors favor gold during times of global uncertainty. "The notion is that the U.S. Federal Reserve is done cutting (interest rates) for now and we'll need to see a trend in weaker data through early 2020 to convince the market that we're going to get more cuts. Until then, there's no real impetus to see gold rally," McKay added. The Fed cut rates three times this year and has one more policy setting meeting on Dec.10-11. However, investors now see the Fed keeping interest rates unchanged until at least mid-2020. Markets also awaited clarity on an interim U.S.-China trade deal. Palladium was up 0.6% at $1,852.49 an ounce, after hitting a new high of $1,861.71 earlier in the session. The metal has been breaking records daily since Nov. 25. "Palladium positioning is slightly counter-intuitive to the price action, implicitly confirming heavy OTC interest from the long side," INTL FCStone analyst Rhona O'Connell said in a note. "After weak longs were shaken out in early November another push to the upside is now approaching resistance from the uptrend." Concerns that supply of the metal used in car exhaust systems could run out has helped to lift prices by more than 47% this year alone, despite a weakening auto sector. Silver shed 0.6% to $16.92 an ounce and platinum edged 0.1% lower to $898.85. (Reporting by Karthika Suresh Namboothiri and Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Chang and Chizu Nomiyama)

PRECIOUS-Gold steadies near two-week low as focus remains on U.S.-China talks

26 Nov 2019

(Adds detail, analyst comment, updates prices) * U.S. consumer confidence data due at 1500 GMT * Palladium touches highest in three weeks * GRAPHIC-2019 asset returns: http://tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl By Eileen Soreng Nov 26 Gold was steady on Tuesday as traders awaited further developments in the trade negotiations between the United States and China while a firm equities market kept bullion near a two-week low hit earlier in the day. Spot gold was steady at $1,454.67 an ounce at 1340 GMT. U.S. gold futures edged down 0.2% to $1,454.50. "Markets are on standby," said FXTM analyst Lukman Otunuga, adding that everyone is waiting for further developments after news of a phone call between the two sides in an effort to secure a so-called Phase 1 deal. China's Vice Premier Liu He, U.S. Trade representative Robert Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin held a phone call on issues related to Phase 1 agreement on Tuesday, China's commerce ministry said. Global equities edged off their highest in almost two years but kept record levels in sight after the latest signs of a potential end to the U.S.-China trade war. More trade optimism should be enough to send gold towards $1,430, but if there's more time wasting or investors are left empty handed, that should elevate gold prices towards $1,465-$1,475, Otunuga added. Gold earlier touched its lowest since Nov. 12 at $1,451.15, having posted losses in the previous four sessions. "We're now back around the $1,440-$1,460 support zone," OANDA analyst Craig Erlam said in a note. "A break of this would be very significant and could potentially open up a move back towards the $1,400 area." Investor focus will now turn to U.S. consumer confidence data due at 1500 GMT. U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Monday said that officials had a favourable outlook on the U.S. economy but will "respond accordingly" if economic data leads to a "material reassessment" of their outlook. The central bank cut interest rates three times this year before pausing. Gold, considered a safe asset in times of political and economic uncertainty, has gained more than 13% this year, mainly because of the tariff dispute and its impact on global economic growth. Elsewhere, China's net gold imports via traditional conduit Hong Kong slipped for a second straight month in October, data showed, dropping to the lowest level since July amid tepid demand. Among other precious metals, silver was up 0.1% at $16.92 an ounce. Palladium dipped 0.2% to $1,794.18, having earlier htouched its highest since Nov. 4 at $1,818.54, while platinum gained 0.2% to $898.53. (Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru Editing by Jan Harvey and David Goodman)

PRECIOUS-Gold dips as trade deal optimism benefits riskier assets

25 Nov 2019

* Spot gold may test support at $1,455/oz - technicals * Palladium hits more than two-week high * GRAPHIC-2018 asset returns: http://tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl (Updates prices) By Eileen Soreng Nov 25 Gold edged down to a one-week low on Monday after the United States and China expressed willingness to sign an initial trade deal by year-end, boosting market sentiment and driving investors to higher-risk assets. Having fallen for the previous three sessions, spot gold was down 0.3% at $1,457.03 per ounce at 1201 GMT, after earlier touching its lowest since Nov. 18 at $1,455.90. U.S. gold futures were down 0.5% at $1,456.90. "The ultimate threat of a full escalation into a trade war, with bans and boycotts, is off the radar screen at least for the moment," Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke said. "The markets are being comforted by recent (trade) developments. That's why equities are high," he said, adding firmer stock markets are keeping gold prices range-bound between $1,450-$1,480. European shares rose for the second straight session following reports that Washington and Beijing were very close to an initial trade deal. Adding to the positive mood around the trade negotiations was the weekend announcement that China would seek to improve protections for intellectual property rights, a move seen to address a sticking point between the parties. Investors were still cautious on trade talks, with U.S. and Beijing officials, lawmakers and trade experts saying an ambitious "phase two" trade deal looked less likely. "There is no major selling in the gold market, which might suggest that people are still sceptical about these developments," Menke said. "They see them as some sort of temporary relief, not a real longer-term solution." Gold, considered a safe asset in times of political and economic uncertainty, has gained more than 13% this year, mainly due to the tariff dispute and its impact on global economic growth. Factors including heightened political uncertainty and an only modest acceleration in growth are likely to support investment in gold, Goldman Sachs said in a research note, maintaining its bullish 2020 target of $1,600 per ounce. Meanwhile investors kept an eye out for U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's speech later on Monday. He is expected to reiterate a steady outlook for rates after better-than-expected manufacturing output and services activity data on Friday. Spot gold may test support at $1,455 per ounce, a break below which could cause a fall to $1,440, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao. Silver fell 0.9% to $16.86 per ounce, after touching its lowest in a week. Palladium rose 0.6% to $1,786.62 per ounce, having earlier hit its highest since Nov. 8 at $1,789.96. Platinum was steady at $891.34. (Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Jan Harvey and Jane Merriman)

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