Gold down but off session lows as dollar weakens

Gold fell on Friday, but bounced off session lows as the dollar weakened and equities rose, yet bullion was on track for a small weekly gain amid escalating U.S.-Sino trade tensions.

Spot gold was down 0.29 percent at $1,253.66 an ounce, off the session low of $1,252.15 and headed for its first weekly gain in four weeks. U.S. gold futures for August delivery settled down $3 at $1,255.80.

The dollar fell after data showed the U.S. unemployment rate increased and wages grew less than forecast in June even as the economy created more jobs than expected. Wage growth is a closely watched signal of potential inflation that could prompt more interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve. A weak dollar tends to lift gold, making the greenback-priced metal cheaper for non-U.S. investors.

U.S. tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods took effect on Friday, while China’s commerce ministry retaliated with 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion worth of U.S. imports. The markets absorbed imposition of the tariffs calmly, with stocks edging higher. Rising stock markets pressure gold prices.

“The tariffs were already priced in,” said RJO Futures’ Josh Graves. “Gold needs more than a trade war to push it higher. It needs volatility in equities, weaker economic data, a dovish Fed.”

“Gold needs to see closes above $1,275-$1,280 before it finds any support,” he added.

On Thursday, minutes of the Federal Reserve’s June 12-13 policy meeting showed that U.S. central bankers expressed concerns global trade tensions could hit an economy perceived as strong.

“Traders are extremely cautious when it comes to gold. The intraday price-action has a bullish set-up and shows that the price has potential to test the level of $1,280 in the coming days if the dollar weakness continues,” ThinkMarkets chief market analyst Naeem Aslam said.

India’s gold imports fell for a sixth month in June to 44 tonnes, provisional industry data showed.

Gold-backed exchange-traded funds (ETFs) saw outflows in North America and Asia, but saw inflows in Europe during June, the World Gold Council said.

Silver gained 0.22 percent at $16.02 and platinum fell 0.16 percent to $839.15, both heading for a 0.3 percent weekly drop. Palladium added 0.3 percent at $950.80, on track for a 0.1 percent weekly drop. All three metals were headed for their fourth straight weekly decline.