A man holds necklaces in a gold shop in Chinatown, Bangkok, Thailand. Spot gold was steady at $1,516.33 per ounce in early-morning trading. Picture: REUTERS/SOE ZEYA TUN
A man holds necklaces in a gold shop in Chinatown, Bangkok, Thailand. Spot gold was steady at $1,516.33 per ounce in early-morning trading. Picture: REUTERS/SOE ZEYA TUN

Bengaluru — Gold prices were unchanged on Monday, as investors remained on the sidelines awaiting clarity on US-China trade talks, while escalating tensions in the Middle East provided some support.

Spot gold was steady at $1,516.33 per ounce at 6.06 SA time. Prices had climbed to a more than one-week high of $1,516.81 in the previous session.

US gold futures for December delivery rose 0.59 % to $1,523.80 per ounce.

“Gold is currently in a mixed zone,” Howie Lee, economist at OCBC Bank, said.

“The pickup in geopolitical risk from Saudi Arabia and President Trump rejecting the possibility of a partial trade deal with China certainly adds that little more shine to gold.”

A US-China trade breakthrough seemed unlikely after President Donald Trump told reporters on Friday he was “not looking” for a partial deal, and Chinese officials cancelled goodwill visits to US farmers.

But both sides later published positive statements, with the US Trade Representative’s office describing the last week’s talks as “productive” and China’s commerce ministry calling them “constructive”. October’s high-level talks remain on track.

Meanwhile in the Middle East, tensions remained elevated with the Pentagon ordering additional troops to be deployed in the Gulf region to strengthen Saudi Arabia’s air and missile defences, after an attack on the kingdom’s oil facilities. The US has slapped more sanctions on Iran, penalising the Iranian Central Bank.

Saudi Arabia will also seek to make a case at a global gathering in New York this week for concerted action to punish and deter Iran after the strikes.

“The safe haven status is still supporting gold. But the prices are stuck between $1,480 and $1,580,” Oanda analyst Jeffrey Halley said.

Indicative of investor interest in gold, holdings at SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 1.19% to 894.15 tons on Friday.

Meanwhile, Comex gold speculators raised net long position by 14,150 contracts to 261,878 in the week to September 17, according to US Commodity Futures Trading Commission data.

Spot palladium hit a fresh high at $1,659.27 per ounce.

Silver rose 1.5% to $18.26 per ounce and platinum rose nearly 1% to $955.03 per ounce.

Reuters