Gold bars are displayed at GoldSilver Central’s office in Singapore. Picture: REUTERS
Gold bars are displayed at GoldSilver Central’s office in Singapore. Picture: REUTERS

Bengaluru — Gold prices inched higher on Monday, extending their recovery from a 17-month low, amid the lingering concern over the US-China trade conflict, while a stronger dollar capped the safe haven’s gains.

Spot gold was up 0.2% at $1,215.71/oz at 4.10am GMT, building on its 0.5% gain on Friday.

US gold futures were little changed at $1,223.70/oz.

"Gold is still very much being influenced by how the dollar is moving. The uptick in gold prices is from the market pricing in how the US-China trade war issues actually play out," OCBC analyst Barnabas Gan said.

Gold prices rebounded on Friday from a 17-month low of $1,204/oz as dollar slipped after data showed US job growth slowed in July.

The dollar also weakened against the yuan on Friday after the Chinese central bank sought to stabilise its currency.

The greenback, however, regained footing on Monday and strengthened against major peers. China proposed retaliatory tariffs on $60bn worth of US goods on Friday, further escalating a bitter trade conflict, after the Trump administration sought to ratchet up pressure for trade concessions by proposing a higher 25% tariff on $200bn worth of Chinese imports.

While the intensifying trade spat has been one of the reason gold prices have been supported above the $1,200 handle, the trade issues have also been playing off into a more expensive dollar rather than higher gold prices, Gan said.

"The more expensive dollar is capping the rally in gold prices. Further downside for gold still appears to be possible especially if the dollar continues to rally."

Spot gold might retest a support at $1,206/oz, a break below, which could cause a loss to the next support at $1,194, Reuters technicals analyst Wang Tao said.

Holdings in SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund (ETF), fell 0.26% to 794.90 tonnes on Friday. Hedge funds and money managers added a hefty 13,931 contracts to their net short position, bringing it to 41,087 contracts, the biggest since records became publicly available in 2006, US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data showed on Friday.

Myanmar could export as much as 20 tonnes of gold in 2019 after the Southeast Asian country earlier this year permitted exports of the precious metal for the first time in five decades, a senior industry official said on Saturday.

Among other precious metals, silver rose 0.5% to $15.45/oz after posting an eighth weekly decline last week.

Platinum rose 0.2% to $828.95/oz, while palladium was 0.5% higher at $913.65/oz.