Gold climbs close to 14-month high
Metal is up 0.4% so far this week and on track for fourth consecutive weekly gain
Gold prices rose on Friday, moving closer to their 14-month high hit last week, as trade and political turmoils, along with US rate cut expectations propped up the precious metal.
Spot gold was up 0.3% at $1,345.49/oz, as of 4.02am GMT, within a striking distance of $1,348.08/oz, its highest since April 19 2018 touched last week.
Bullion has risen 0.4% so far this week, keeping the yellow metal on track for its fourth consecutive weekly gain.
US gold futures rose 0.4% to $1,349.50/oz.
“Concerns around the Middle East and potential conflicts are one of the factors. There is also an investment drive here with bonds renewing their rally, it appears growth concerns remain,” said CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy.
“Growth concerns and interest rate expectations support the gold market. In low growth, highly liquid environment, money has to find a home, it appears a number of investors have concluded that gold would be one of those homes.”
On Thursday, Washington blamed Iran for attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, where Norwegian-owned Front Altair and the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous experienced explosions, forcing crews to abandon ship and leave the vessels adrift in waters.
This coupled with an importunate China-US trade conflict pushed investors to the edge, with more than 600 US companies urging President Donald Trump on Thursday to resolve the dispute, saying tariffs hurt US businesses and consumers.
Impact of the long-drawn trade war was also evident on the US labour market, which saw an unexpected rise in the number of Americans filing applications for unemployment over the past week.
Other data showed US import prices fell by the most in five months in May in the latest indication of muted inflation pressures, adding to expectations the Fed will cut rates this year.
This further fuelled expectations of a Fed rate cut, pulling short-dated US Treasury yields lower on Thursday, and steepening the yield curve ahead of Friday’s retail sales data and the central bank’s meeting next week.
“Gold traded higher as its appeal as an alternative investment in times of uncertainty. The yellow metal has risen as the probabilities of a summer interest rate cut by the Fed have increased,” Alfonso Esparza, a senior market analyst at Oanda, said in a note.
Among other precious metals, silver gained 0.2% to $14.94 and platinum rose 0.7% to $813.10.
Palladium climbed 0.2% to $1,449.19 after hitting its highest since April 29 at $1,450.39 earlier in the session.
The auto-catalyst metal has gained 6.6% so far this week and is set to post its best week since week ending September 21 2018.