Gold bars. Picture: PATRICK HERTZOG / AFP
Gold bars. Picture: PATRICK HERTZOG / AFP

Gold climbed on Friday, as signs of weak global growth rekindled investor interest in the safe-haven metal, keeping it on track for its first weekly gain in five, while a strong dollar ahead of the US GDP data capped gains for the bullion.

Spot gold was up 0.1% at $1,278.62/oz as of 3.34am GMT. The metal rose 0.4% so far this week, and is poised for its first gain since the week ended March 22.

US gold futures edged up 0.2% to $1,280.60/oz.

Asian shares started timidly after world stocks were weighed down by data from Germany and Asia suggesting that the global economy was still under slowdown constraints.

“Weak data indicates that the countries may have to undertake monetary easing measures, so that is a boost to gold prices,” said Argonaut Securities analyst Helen Lau.

“Some investors are wanting to switch out of equity markets into the safe-haven asset class,” she said.

Analysts polled by Reuters deduced that major central banks are done tightening policy especially with the global growth outlook fatiguing across developed and emerging economies along with scant prospects for a surge in inflation.

The view is supported by a recent slashing of its growth outlook by the Bank of Canada and Bank of Japan’s disclosure that it will keep interest rates super-low for at least one more year.

The greenback held near a two-year peak on signs that the US economy was doing significantly better than elsewhere, curbing gains for the bullion.

Data on Thursday showed new orders for US-made capital goods increased by the most in eight months in March, hitting their highest level on record.

However, analysts still believe that the US Federal Reserve will undertake no further rate-hiking activities at least until the end of 2020, another Reuters poll showed.

Earlier this week, gold prices fell to their lowest level this year at $1,265.90/oz.

This trough has helped reinstate some physical demand for gold, said Brian Lan, MD at dealer GoldSilver Central in Singapore.

Investors will now be looking towards the release of the US GDP data, due at 12.30pm GMT on Friday, to gauge the strength of the world’s largest economy.

Among other precious metals, silver was up 0.3% at $14.98/oz, while platinum rose 0.8% to $889.85/oz.

Palladium fell 0.2% to $1,412.43/oz.