Gold prices edge up, but still set for longest monthly losing streak since 2013

MCX ServiceGold prices inched up on Friday but remained on course to rack up their longest monthly losing streak since 2013, hit by worries over lingering U.S.-Sino trade tensions.

Spot gold was up 0.2 percent at $1,202.04 an ounce at 0321 GMT, after touching a near one-week low of $1,195.95 on Thursday. Prices are down 1.7 percent so far this month, on track for a fifth straight monthly decline.

U.S. gold futures were up 0.2 percent at $1,207.90 an ounce.

“As $1,200 is always a psychological level, there will be some battle to regain that … It is going to be critical whether prices are going to close above or below that level today,” said Brian Lan, managing director at dealer GoldSilver Central in Singapore.

Analysts and traders said gold would closely track moves in the dollar, in which the metal is priced, especially with investors bracing for the next round of the U.S.-China trade conflict.

Gold prices have declined about 7.7 percent so far this year amid international trade disputes and the Turkish currency crisis, with investors preferring the dollar as a safe-haven.

The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies stood little changed at 94.731 on Friday.

The greenback was boosted overnight by data that showed U.S. consumer spending increased in July.

“We think that the spate of the more consequential news headlines we are seeing of late will likely force another dollar rally and conceivably pressure gold prices lower,” said INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir.

“We would, therefore, favor the short-side for the time being, especially going into the long Labor Day weekend in the U.S.”

Meanwhile, investors continued their liquidation of exchange-traded funds, even after gold prices recovered from 1-1/2-year lows of $1,159.96 touched earlier this month.

Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, have seen continuous outflows since July 23 and are down over 9 percent so far this year.

“The ongoing outflows from ETFs, record high speculative shorts and upbeat U.S. economic data are still the major headwinds for gold and signify the recovery might be short-lived,” said Religare Securities analyst Sugandha Sachdeva.

Spot gold may drop to $1,185 per ounce as it had broken support at $1,200, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

Spot silver was down 0.1 percent at $14.52 an ounce.

Palladium was up 0.5 percent at $970.25 an ounce, after touching a 10-week high at $983.75. Platinum rose 0.4 percent to $791.90 an ounce.

Palladium’s premium over platinum hit about $185 per ounce on Thursday, the highest since March 2001.

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