Gold bars are seen at the Kazakhstan's National Bank vault in Almaty, Kazakhstan. File Picture: REUTERS/MARIYA GORDEYEVA
Gold bars are seen at the Kazakhstan's National Bank vault in Almaty, Kazakhstan. File Picture: REUTERS/MARIYA GORDEYEVA

Bengaluru — Gold prices nudged higher on Friday as Asian shares fell on renewed political and economic concerns including China’s weak growth, with the metal on track for a third consecutive weekly gain.

China’s economy grew 6.5% in the third quarter from a year earlier, its weakest pace since the global financial crisis, and missed expectations as a years-long campaign to tackle debt risks and the trade war with the US began to bite.

Spot gold was up 0.2% at $1,227.41/oz as of 4.41am GMT, and about 0.8% higher for the week.

US gold futures were up 0.1% at $1,230.9/oz.

“With Chinese equity markets continuing to drift lower, and lingering geopolitical risks such as Fed interest rate hikes, Italian budget concerns and the US-China trade war, stock markets are still shaky and in no way have stabilised,” said Ronan Manly, a precious metals analyst at Singapore-based dealer BullionStar.

“This overall mix should be supportive of the gold price.”

Asian stocks slipped with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan down 0.3% following China’s latest GDP reading.

“People have started to see that equities are overvalued.… This has led them to think that they need to park their funds in safe havens like gold, especially amid prevailing risk-averse sentiment and geopolitical tensions,” said Brian Lan, MD at Singapore dealer GoldSilver Central.

Meanwhile, the European Commission said on Thursday a draft 2019 budget from Italy was in “particularly serious non-compliance” with EU rules, setting the stage for a possible unprecedented rejection of the country's fiscal plan.

“Gold is in a stronger position now than before. We are forecasting gold to end the year around $1,240/oz,” said John Sharma, an economist with National Australia Bank.

The recent sell-off in global stock markets has boosted the appeal for gold, which is seen as a safe store of value during political and economic uncertainty, driving prices to a two-and-a-half-month peak of $1,233.26 on Monday.

However, the metal has declined about 10% from its April peak after investors preferred the dollar as the US-China trade war unfolded against a background of higher US interest rates.

Spot gold may retest a support at $1,217/oz, a break below which could cause a loss to the next support at $1,208, said Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

In other precious metals, silver was up 0.3% at $14.59/oz. 

Platinum rose 0.6% to $830.30, but was down 0.8% for the week. Palladium gained 0.7% to $1,078.40/oz and was up more than 1% for the week.