Gold inches down as hawkish Fed weighs on safe-haven demand


(Reuters) – Gold prices edged down on Thursday as bullion’s safe-haven appeal was dented by hawkish signals from the U.S. Federal Reserve on further interest rate cuts, citing growth in the U.S. economy, a strong labour market and steady inflation.

FILE PHOTO: Newly casted ingots of 99.99% pure gold are stored after weighing at the Krastsvetmet non-ferrous metals plant, one of the world’s largest producers in the precious metals industry, in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, Russia November 22, 2018. REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin/File Photo


* Spot gold was down 0.1% at $1,461.50 per ounce, as of 0141 GMT, while U.S. gold futures were flat at $1,462.40 per ounce.

* U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the negative interest rates sought by President Donald Trump were not appropriate for the U.S. economy right now.

* The Fed has cut interest rates thrice this year to help sustain U.S. growth. A lower interest rate trims the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

* However, gold retained some shine as media said U.S.-China trade negotiations had ‘hit a snag’ over farm purchases, with China not wanting a deal that looks one-sided in the favour of the United States.

* Adding fuel to the concern, Trump threatened to jack up tariffs on Chinese goods if the countries fail to reach a trade deal, which could raise the price of cellphones, laptops, and toys less than two weeks before Christmas.

* The months-long Sino-U.S. trade war has brought turmoil to financial markets and sparked fears of a global economic slowdown, pushing up gold prices more than 13% this year.

* Putting a floor under prices, anti-government protesters in Hong Kong dug in at university campuses in the Chinese-ruled city, setting the stage for further confrontations as police said violence was at a “very dangerous, and even deadly, level”.

* Asian stocks clung to tight ranges on Thursday as investors awaited key Chinese data for clues on how much the trade war between Beijing and Washington has hit growth in the world’s second-largest economy.

* SPDR Gold Trust GLD, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.04% to 896.77 tonnes on Wednesday from 897.09 tonnes the previous session.

Reporting by Diptendu Lahiri in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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