Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

Bengaluru — Gold prices climbed on Friday as the dollar fell back on the expectation the US central bank may pause interest rates hikes if the US economy slows in 2019, while investors awaited news on progress in the China-US trade talks.

Spot gold rose 0.4% to $1,290.84/oz as at 3.10am GMT, heading for a fourth consecutive weekly gain. The yellow metal is up 0.4% so far this week.

US gold futures were up 0.3% at $1,290.80/oz.

“The weaker dollar and a more dovish Fed are the two most alluring factors for gold,” said Stephen Innes, Asia-Pacific trading head at Oanda.

"There are concerns for the US economy to slow down, perhaps towards the end of 2019 and into 2020, so the markets are pricing rate cuts.”

The dollar slipped against other major currencies, after having rebounded from three-month lows on Thursday following Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell’s comment which suggested the central bank is not done tightening monetary policy just yet.

A partial US government shutdown extended into its 20th day and provided little comfort to the US currency, after President Donald Trump threatened on Thursday to use emergency powers to bypass US Congress to pay for a wall on the US-Mexico border.

“The [gold] market is holding back a little as they are concerned the equity market could rally significantly on trade war truce,” Innes said.

Asian equities inched up to one-month highs, but the rally’s momentum slowed partly as investors sought more clarity on whether the US and China could make some headway on their talks on trade as well as intellectual property rights.

“Dilemma over the US-Sino trade dispute is still raising eyebrows and needs clarity,” said Sugandha Sachdeva, vice-president for metals, energy and currency research, Religare Broking.

“Once trade issues are resolved, the dollar is likely to remain suppressed, losing its appeal as a safe haven.… Gold on the other hand would stand to benefit.”

Also aiding gold’s upward trend are concerns of weakening global growth, further emphasised by sombre data out of Switzerland and France on Thursday.

“Gold is likely to approach the short-term resistance of $1,310/oz, from where some profit-booking can be seen,” said Sachdeva, adding that near-term support can be seen at $1,275/oz.

Spot gold is expected to retest a resistance at $1,299/oz, with a good chance of breaking above this level and rising further to $1,311, said Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

Silver climbed 0.6% to $15.65. However, it was poised to snap three sessions of weekly gains.

Palladium climbed 0.4% to $1,326.75/oz, and was up about 2% for the week.

Platinum was up 0.2% at $821.60/oz.