Bengaluru — Gold prices were little changed on Thursday as investors maintained a cautious stance amid signs of a delay in Washington and Beijing signing a long-awaited interim trade deal.

Spot gold was trading at $1,491.27/oz, as of 3.37am GMT, while US gold futures were flat at $1,492.9/oz.

A senior official of the Trump administration said on Wednesday a meeting between US and Chinese leaders to sign an interim trade deal could be delayed until December as discussions continue over terms and venue.

“It (delay in US-China trade deal) has added a bit of caution. Trade talks are going to go ahead, and at the same time, the complicated issues in the deal have not yet been discussed, so the investors are in wait-and-see-mode,” said John Sharma, an economist with National Australia Bank.

“At the moment, there is not much to change it (gold’s direction), we will have to wait for some external factors, either geopolitical or economic to push it out of the range.”

A tit-for-tat tariff war between the world’s two biggest economies for the past 16 months has roiled financial markets and raised fears of a global economic slowdown, helping the safe-haven bullion to rise more than 16% in 2019.

The dollar index, which has eased about 1.5% against a basket of rival currencies so far this week, made gold cheaper for investors holding other currencies, while Asian shares paused near multi-month peaks.

“Sentiments are that some kind of deal will get done, also the Federal Reserve have said that they are not looking to do anything more this year (with interest rates), that is why gold is not reacting much,” Brian Lan of Singapore dealer GoldSilver Central said.

In October, the Fed cut interest rates for the third time in 2019 to help sustain US growth despite a slowdown in other parts of the world, but signalled there would be no further reductions unless the economy takes a turn for the worse.

Lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost for holding the non-yielding gold.

Gold will trade in a range of $1,482-$1,518/oz in the short term, Lan said.

Meanwhile, the IMF on Wednesday slashed eurozone growth forecasts.

Elsewhere, silver rose 0.1% to $17.63/oz. Platinum was unchanged at $929.35/oz and palladium dipped 0.2% to $1,788.86/oz per ounce.