Gold prices little changed on trade caution, stocks target Fed meet

Gold was steady on Monday as investors await cues from the U.S. Federal Reserve on interest rates later this week, while trying to size up the chances of a new round of U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods.

Spot gold was flat at $1,460 per ounce by 0500 GMT.

U.S. gold futures was flat at $1,464.50.

The U.S. Fed will meet on December 10-12 for an interest rate decision and investors were likely to focus on the outlook for next year and beyond.

A strong U.S. jobs data last week has renewed bets that the Federal Reserve would stand pat on interest rates. Lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

Meanwhile, the Dec. 15 deadline is still in place for a new round of U.S. tariffs on about $156 billion worth of Chinese imports, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Friday.

“Markets are waiting to size up what happens, they’re waiting both for the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting and some sort of last minute deal (between U.S.-China),” said Ilya Spivak, a senior currency strategist at DailyFx.

“We’ve seen that from this administration in White House, this kind of brinkmanship where they may decide to cancel tariffs at the last second by a tweet late night on December 14.”

Gold has gained more than 13 percent so far this year after the Fed cut rates three times this year on the backdrop of the U.S.-China trade war and its impact on economy.

“If the tariffs go into effect into the weekend … gold then looks decidedly cheap and we might see an upside breakout,” Spivak said.

However, limiting gold’s gains, data showed growth in China’s imports. This follows solid U.S. job growth in November, on which gold prices shed 1% on Friday, registering their biggest daily percentage fall in a month.

“Prices are likely to remain in pressure with better-than-expected data we saw late last week,” ANZ analyst Daniel Hynes said.

Speculators upped their bullish positions in COMEX gold in the week to Dec. 3, data showed.

However, holdings of the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund SPDR Gold Trust, fell 0.26 percent to their lowest since Sept. 19 on Friday.

Palladium shed 0.1 percent to $1,876.78 per ounce, having hit a record peak at $1,880.65 in the previous session.

Silver rose 0.1 percent to $16.57 per ounce, after touching its lowest since early August in the last session, while platinum eased 0.4 percent to $892.30.

Source: Reuters