Gold prices climb on weaker dollar

Gold edged up Monday, supported by a weaker dollar and as uncertainty over the outlook for U.S. policy under President Donald Trump stoked safe-haven demand.

Spot gold had risen 0.22 percent to $1,193.88 per ounce by 0257 GMT, while U.S. gold futures were up 0.45 percent at $1,193.70.

The dollar index- which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies- was down 0.3 percent at 100.230.

Trump’s administration tempered a key element of his move to ban entry of refugees and people from seven Muslim-majority countries in the face of mounting criticism even from some prominent Republicans and protests that drew tens of thousands in major American cities.

“We’ve seen a rise in the amount of safe-haven buying in the past few weeks around the critical uncertainty in the U.S. and Europe, and the executive order signed by Trump has raised the uncertainty even higher,” said ANZ analyst Daniel Hynes.

Trump’s protectionist statements and a lack of detail on policy have led some investors to opt for gold, which is often seen as an alternative investment in times of geopolitical and financial uncertainty.

The upturn in safe-haven buying comes at a time when physical demand has been sapped due to the Lunar New Year holiday in Asia, Hynes added.

The market for the precious metal has also been supported by sluggish U.S. economic data released on Friday.

Economic growth in the country slowed sharply in the fourth quarter as a plunge in shipments of soybeans weighed on exports, the data showed.

“That puts just enough doubt into the industry’s mind about the timing of U.S. interest rate hikes,” Hynes also said.

Gold is highly sensitive to rising rates, which increase the opportunity cost of holding the non-yielding asset while boosting the dollar, in which it is priced.

Meanwhile, holdings of the largest gold-backed exchange-traded-fund (ETF), New York’s SPDR Gold Trust GLD, remained unchanged on Thursday from Wednesday.

Hedge funds and money managers crimped their net long position in gold futures and options, following two straight weeks of increases.

They also raised their silver holdings to the highest level since early November, data showed.

Spot silver remained unchanged at $17.12 per ounce at 0230 GMT on Monday.

Platinum rose 0.05 percent to $984.10 per ounce, while palladium dropped 0.18 percent to $734.65 per ounce.

Source: Reuters