Gold. Picture: REUTERS
Gold. Picture: REUTERS

Gold prices were little changed on Friday, but the metal was on track for a third weekly fall in four as a strong dollar offset  political and trade worries.

Spot gold was steady at $1,506.43/oz, as of 4.26am GMT, declining 0.7% for the week after a near 2% gain last week. US gold futures were 0.1% lower at $1,513.7/oz.

“Gold is smack bang in the middle of its longer-term $1,480 to $1,530 range,” Oanda analyst Jeffrey Halley said in a note.

“It looks set to remain anchored there for the session as markets await more big picture clarity.”

The greenback held near multi-week highs against major currencies as heightened risks from political tensions to the Sino-US trade war increased its safe-haven appeal. Asian shares were on course for a second straight weekly loss.

A whistle-blower report released on Thursday said US President Donald Trump not only abused his office in attempting to solicit Ukraine’s interference in the 2020 election for his political benefit, but that the White House tried to “lock down” evidence about that conduct.

This added to the uncertainties around the global growth outlook amid a prolonged US-China trade spat.

“Gold prices are steady this morning even though there is a lot of [supportive] news flowing around,” said Margaret Yang Yan, a market analyst at CMC Markets, adding that the dollar's strength capped the upside.

“If the global economic situation does not improve, we may see central banks around the world cutting down interest rates.”

Meanwhile, investors were cautious on mixed signals from China and the US on their tariff dispute, which has helped the bullion gain about 17% so far in 2019.

China’s top diplomat said on Thursday Beijing was willing to buy more US products, and that talks would yield results if both sides “take more enthusiastic measures” to show goodwill and reduce “pessimistic language”.

But reports saying Washington is unlikely to allow US firms to supply China’s Huawei Technologies undermined hopes of a complete deal between the countries.

Spot gold may test a support at $1,488/oz, a break below which could cause a fall towards $1,446/oz, according to Wang Tao, a Reuters market analyst for commodities and energy technicals.

Elsewhere, silver rose 0.2% to $17.83/oz, platinum was up 0.2% at $931.75/oz and palladium was steady at $1,668.28/oz.