Picture: 123RF/LIGHTWISE
Picture: 123RF/LIGHTWISE

Gold prices jumped on Friday, heading for their best month in three years, as uncertainty loomed over whether highly anticipated trade talks between China and the US would yield any progress in ending a year-long trade dispute.

Spot gold was up 0.7% at $1,419.61/oz as of 1.15am GMT. Gold has risen nearly 8.8% so far in June, on track for its biggest monthly percentage gain since June 2016.

With nearly 1.5% gained so far this week, bullion is also set to post its sixth consecutive weekly rise.

US gold futures climbed 0.7% to $1,422.20/oz.

The leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) countries meet on Friday and Saturday in Osaka, Japan, with a much-anticipated meeting between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping scheduled for Saturday.

The Wall Street Journal on Thursday reported that Xi plans to present Trump with a set of terms the US should meet before Beijing would be ready to settle their trade dispute.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, however, said Trump has agreed to no preconditions for his high-stakes meeting with Xi and is maintaining his threat to impose new tariffs on Chinese goods.

“Ongoing tensions around the trade talks between the US and China helped gold with some safe-haven buying prior to the G20 summit meeting on Saturday,” ANZ analyst Daniel Hynes said.

“The emergence of a list of requirements from China has just reminded the market that it’s going to be a difficult process to get the trade talks going again,” he said.

The trade tensions also weighed on equity markets on Friday, boosting appeal for safe-haven bullion.

The yellow metal has also been underpinned by a softer dollar, which stood at 96.200 after hitting a near one-week high in the previous session.

Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.26% to 795.80 tons on Thursday, from 797.85 tons on Wednesday.

On the technical front, spot gold may retest a resistance at $1,439/oz, as it has found support at $1,404/oz, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.

Among other precious metals, silver rose 0.2% to $15.29/oz. The metal is set to post its first monthly gain in five months, and is headed for its best month in 2019.

Palladium gained 0.8% to $1,562.26/oz. The auto-catalyst metal has risen nearly 18% so far this month, its biggest monthly percentage gain since November 2016.

Platinum was up 0.4% at $814.50.