US-China tensions, economic outlook in focus

An Argor-Heraeus SA branded two hundred and fifty gram gold bar, center, sits in this arranged photograph at Solar Capital Gold Zrt. in Budapest, Hungary.

Akos Stiller | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Gold prices inched up on Tuesday, supported by strained Sino-U.S. relations and a dismal global economic outlook, although positive news from an early-stage trial for a coronavirus vaccine spurred some risk appetite and capped the metal’s gains.

Spot gold was up 0.2% at $1,735.04 per ounce by 0042 GMT. U.S. gold futures gained 0.2% to $1,737.10.

On Monday, the metal fell back from a more than seven-year high to settle 0.5% lower, as stocks and oil surged after drugmaker Moderna said its experimental vaccine showed promising results in an early-stage trial.

Highlighting Sino-U.S. friction, stock exchange Nasdaq is set to unveil new restrictions on initial public offerings, which will make it more difficult for some Chinese companies to debut on it, sources said.

U.S. lawmakers and officials are crafting proposals to push American companies to move operations or key suppliers out  of China that include tax breaks, new rules, and carefully  structured subsidies.

Money markets ramped up expectations that the United Kingdom could cut interest rates below zero for the first time.

The global economy will take much longer to recover fully from the shock caused by the new coronavirus than initially expected, the head of the International Monetary Fund said.

Gold has risen about 14% this year as central banks rolled out a wave of rate cuts and other stimulus to limit the economic damage from the pandemic. Lower interest rates reduce the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

Epicenters of the coronavirus outbreak including New York, Italy and Spain are gradually lifting restrictions that have kept millions inside.

Palladium slipped 0.9% to $1,995.76 per ounce, platinum fell 0.5% to $814.01, and silver fell 0.5% to $17.09.

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