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Gold set for worst month in three years on US-China trade deal hopes

An employee returns a box of one kilogram gold bars to the safe in Budapest, Hungary, on June 17, 2013.

Akos Stiller | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Gold prices were little changed on Friday, but remained on track for their worst month in three years as hopes for a preliminary U.S.-China trade deal buoyed demand for riskier assets and the dollar.

Palladium scaled a new high of $1,844.50 an ounce, extending its record-setting run on supply deficit.

Spot gold was flat at $1,458.60 per ounce by 0329 GMT, shedding 0.3% so far in the week. U.S. gold futures rose 0.3% to $1,457.80.

For the month, prices were down almost 4%, their biggest since November 2016, as optimism about a deal between Beijing and Washington dampened demand for the safe-haven metal.

“(Gold) Market definitely is divided because previously most people were thinking that a trade deal is going to happen, and now they are not sure which side it is going to go, and that reflects in the trading prices,” said Brian Lan of Singapore dealer GoldSilver Central.

The dollar was set for its highest weekly finish against the yen since May, while global shares stalled just short of an all-time peak as some doubts remained about an interim deal.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed into law congressional legislation backing protesters in Hong Kong, prompting Beijing to warn of “firm counter measures”.

The signing of the bill is a provocative but symbolic move, said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets, adding that: “China’s response was also largely a symbolic retaliation, this makes no impact to the trade negotiations.”

Gold, considered a safe store of value during economic or political uncertainties, has gained more than 13% this year, mainly due to the tariff dispute.

“A break above $1,500/oz would suggest the potential for additional upside in prices. In contrast, a break below $1,445/oz would point to a more signicant correction underway, and we would expect further losses for gold prices,” Fitch Solutions said in a note.

Among other precious metals, palladium fell 0.7% to $1,828 per ounce, after touching an all-time peak.

The metal, used in vehicle exhausts to reduce harmful emissions, has gained about 45% this year and was headed for its fourth consecutive monthly gain on sustained supply issues.

Platinum shed 0.8% to $894.02 per ounce and silver rose 0.4% to $16.97.

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