Gold steady near five-month; poised for best week in a year

Gold was on track for its biggest weekly gain since late-April last year, up about 2.7% this week

US gold futures were up 0.9% at $1,290.10. Photo: Mint
US gold futures were up 0.9% at $1,290.10. Photo: Mint

Bengaluru: Gold on Friday held near the 5-month highs hit in the previous session and was set for its biggest weekly percentage rise since April last year as a weaker dollar and geopolitical worries over the Middle East and North Korea stoked safe haven demand.

Spot gold was steady at $1,287.40 per ounce by 0545 GMT in muted trade due to a public holiday in many countries.

Bullion prices hit their highest since early November at $1,288.64 an ounce the session before. The metal was on track for its biggest weekly gain since late-April last year, up about 2.7% this week.

“Everyone is nervous about the (geo-political) situation at the moment and nobody wants to sell gold, so it is pretty firm this week,” said Yuichi Ikemizu, head of commodity trading at Standard Bank in Tokyo.

“People do not want to hold any positions over the weekend since many markets are closed.”

US gold futures were up 0.9% at $1,290.10. Gold on the Shanghai Futures Exchange was also at a 5-month peak. Gold, often seen as an alternative investment during times of political and financial uncertainty, benefitted from the risk-averse sentiment in the market.

The dollar nursed losses on Friday, on track for a losing week as continuing tensions in North Korea underpinned the perceived safe-haven Japanese currency.

US President Donald Trump said on Thursday that North Korea is a problem that “will be taken care of”, as China urged caution and speculation rose that Pyongyang might be on the verge of a sixth nuclear test.

The US military said on Thursday that it dropped “the mother of all bombs,” the largest non-nuclear device it has ever unleashed in combat, on a network of caves and tunnels used by Islamic State in eastern Afghanistan.

The US-led coalition against Islamic State on Thursday denied a Syrian army report it had carried out an air strike that had hit poison gas supplies belonging to IS and caused the deaths of hundreds of people.

The number of Americans filing for unemployment aid unexpectedly fell last week and consumer sentiment rose early this month.

Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.77% to 848.92 tonnes on Thursday.

Among other precious metals, spot silver inched 0.1% higher at $18.51 an ounce, after touching a five-month high of $18.599 in the previous session.

Platinum was up 0.2% at $970.65 while palladium was down 0.1% at $794.08. Reuters

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