US-China tensions, economic data in focus

A mark of 999.9 fine sits on hallmarked one kilogram gold bullion bars at the Valcambi SA precious metal refinery in Lugano, Switzerland, on April 24, 2018.

Stefan Wermuth | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Gold rose on Monday to its highest since October 2012 as worries regarding the souring U.S.-China relations and bleak U.S. economic data underpinned the safe-haven metal.

Spot gold was up 0.9% at $1,756.79 per ounce by 0043 GMT, after rising to its highest since Oct. 12, 2012 at $1,759.98. U.S. gold futures gained 0.5% to $1,765.70.

The U.S.-China “Phase 1” trade deal reached in January is not falling apart and the two countries are still working to implement it, the White House’s top economic adviser said on Friday, but President Donald Trump added that he was not “thrilled” with the agreement.

China’s commerce ministry on Sunday said it was firmly opposed to the latest rules by the United States against Huawei and would take all necessary measures to safeguard Chinese firms’ rights and interests.

Underscoring the economic impact of the coronavirus epidemic, U.S. retail sales endured a second straight month of record declines in April, putting the economy on track for its biggest contraction in the second quarter since the Great Depression.

A U.S. economic recovery may stretch deep into next year and a full comeback may depend on a vaccine, the Federal Reserve chairman said Sunday night, while he outlined the likely need for three to six more months of government financial help for firms and families.

Gold tends to benefit from widespread stimulus measures as it is seen as a hedge against inflation and currency debasement, while it is also used as a safe-haven during times of economic and political uncertainties.

Authorities in China’s Wuhan have tested over 3 million residents for the coronavirus in April and May and aim to test all of the rest, state media said, as the city faces the threat of a second wave of infections.

Japan’s economy slipped into recession for the first time in 4-1/2 years, GDP data showed, putting the nation on course for its deepest postwar slump.

Physical gold demand was tepid in most Asian centers last week with retail buying yet to see any significant recovery even as top hubs India and China eased some coronavirus-driven restrictions.

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