London: Gold prices gained on Thursday as a spike in trade tensions between the United States and China renewed fears of a global economic slowdown and persuaded investors to seek lower-risk assets.
Spot gold was up 0.2 per cent to $1,283.10 per ounce at 1131 GMT, having climbed to its highest since April 15 at $1,291.39 on Wednesday.
US gold futures were also 0.2 per cent higher, at $1,284.20 an ounce.
“Gold has been fairly well supported in the last few trading sessions as a result of deterioration in the trade talks between the US and China,” ING analyst Warren Patterson said.
“The broader commodity complex has come under significant pressure because the trade talks seem to be falling apart and we are seeing that rush towards safe-haven assets.” Bullion, along with the Japanese yen and US Treasuries, is seen as a relatively safe investment in times of political and financial uncertainty. The yen surged to a three-month high against the dollar.
Markets are awaiting two-day negotiations between China and the United States, with US President Donald Trump having threatened to increase tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods on Friday.
Trump said China “broke the deal” in negotiations with Washington and vowed not to back down on imposing new tariffs unless Beijing “stops cheating our workers”.
Trade fears triggered a global sell-off in equities and inflamed concerns of a slowdown in global growth. World shares tumbled for a fourth day running on Thursday.
While gold has drawn support from risk-averse markets, prices have not embarked on a significant uptrend, with the $1,290 level acting as a key technical barrier.
“The precious metal has struggled to hold bullish gains as the technical overview remains negative,” Singapore-based Phillip Futures said in a note.
“A continuation of the negative trend scenario ... will see market forces test the key support of $1,274.” Spot gold may fall into a range of $1,267-$1,274, as it failed to break resistance at $1,291, Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao said.
Among other metals, silver was down 0.4 per cent to $14.78 per ounce, while platinum fell 0.5 per cent to $852.50.
Palladium slipped 1.5 per cent to $1,298 per ounce, having touched its lowest since Jan. 8 at $1,292 earlier in the session.