Gold was en route to a weekly gain on Friday as uncertainty about the fate of US-China trade deal gripped investors ahead of a US jobs report that could offer further insight on the state of the US economy.

Spot gold was flat at $1,475.36/oz at 3.40am GMT, but headed for a second straight weekly gain, up about 0.8% for the week so far. US gold futures were down 0.2% at $1,480.40/oz.

“Gold hasn’t really found a direction, it is indecisive. Right now it is consolidating and waiting for an opportunity which could change on December 15,” said Margaret Yang Yan, a market analyst at CMC Markets.

A new round of US tariffs on Chinese goods is scheduled to take effect on December 15. China wants a halt to new tariffs and an end to existing ones as part of any interim deal to de-escalate the trade war.

“If the trade talks break down, then the price could spike up. Otherwise, we see gold to continue consolidating towards the year-end,” Yang Yan said.

“It’s completely different from earlier in the year when gold was absolutely the star.”

US President Donald Trump on Thursday said trade talks with China are “moving right along”. Trump’s upbeat comments supported Asian stocks, holding back bullion, which is favoured in times of political and financial uncertainty. Bullion has gained 15% so far in 2019, which could be its biggest annual rise since 2010, mainly bolstered by the effect of the 17-month-long US-China trade war on the global economy.

“Gold is consolidating towards the high end of the recent range heading into the weekend. Which makes absolute sense in this current environment where uncertainty is high, and rates are low,” said Stephen Innes, AxiTrader market strategist, in a note.

Traders are now bracing for the US non-farm payrolls report due later on Friday to determine how well the US economy is holding up, after a series of weak US economic data reports.

A modest US economic growth outlook has barely changed despite a majority of economists in a Reuters poll being “reasonably confident” an initial trade deal will be signed with China within the next three months.

In other precious metals, palladium was unchanged at $1,871.92/oz, having notched a record high of $1,876.54/oz on Thursday on supply concerns for the auto catalyst metal. Platinum inched 0.1% higher to $897.57/oz, while silver fell 0.2% to $16.91/oz. Both were headed for their first weekly decline in four.


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