Gold edges lower as US trade tensions weigh

Gold prices eased slightly on Monday as the dollar held near a one-week high on worries over an escalation in trade conflicts between the United States and other countries. (AFP)
Updated 03 September 2018
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Gold edges lower as US trade tensions weigh

LONDON: Gold prices eased slightly on Monday as the dollar held near a one-week high on worries over an escalation in trade conflicts between the United States and other countries.
A firmer US currency makes dollar-priced gold more expensive for holders of other currencies, potentially sapping consumption. Safe-haven demand for gold has this year been overshadowed by the metal’s relationship with the greenback.
US President Donald Trump said on Saturday that there was no need to keep Canada in the North American Free Trade Agreement and warned Congress not to meddle with negotiations or he would terminate the trilateral pact, which also includes Mexico.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg News reported that Trump was prepared to ramp up a trade war with China and had told aides he was ready to impose tariffs on $200 billion more in Chinese imports as soon as a public comment period on the plan ends on Thursday.
“As long as the trade war fears that are helping dollar strength continue, gold is going to come under pressure,” said ETF Securities commodity strategist Nitesh Shah.
Walter Pehowich, executive vice president of investment services at Dillon Gage Metals said “if tensions in the emerging markets settle down, gold could be very volatile.”
Gold prices are down about 8 percent this year against a backdrop of rising US interest rates, trade disputes and the Turkish currency crisis, with investors parking their money in the dollar.
Spot gold was down 0.03 percent at $1,200.4 an ounce by 1:09pm
The most active US gold futures for December delivery rose $0.30, or 0.02 percent, to $1,207.00 per ounce.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, was barely changed at 95.12.
If gold recovers to $1,210 there is a good chance of further rebounds to $1,230, said ActivTrades chief analyst Carlo Alberto De Casa. But a decline below $1,200 would see prices test $1,180 and the following support placed at $1,160, he added.
There was some indication that the bearish sentiment in the market has started to shift slightly, with net short positions in COMEX gold contracts in the week to Aug. 28 showing a decline for the first time in more than a month.
US economic data this week, including a manufacturing survey on Tuesday and an employment report on Friday, could influence gold’s moves as investors look for clues on the pace of US interest rate increases.
Meanwhile, liquidations continued in SPDR Gold, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund. Holdings have fallen by more than 13 percent since peaking in late April.
Spot silver was down slightly at $14.46 an ounce after touching its lowest in more than two weeks at $14.37.
Platinum rose 0.1 percent to $783.50 an ounce, while palladium fell 0.1 percent to $979.5 after hitting a 10-week high on Friday at $984.97.


Samsung announces folding phone with 5G — at nearly $2,000

Updated 21 February 2019
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Samsung announces folding phone with 5G — at nearly $2,000

  • The device looks similar to a conventional smartphone, but then opens like a book to reveal a display the size of a small tablet
  • Samsung is also making improvements to its flagship Galaxy S devices and plans to offer a 4G version of its folding phone
SAN FRANCISCO/LONDON: Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. on Wednesday unveiled a nearly $2,000 folding smartphone in a bid to top the technology of Apple Inc. and Chinese rivals and reignite consumer interest amid slumping sales.
The Galaxy Fold will go on sale on April 26 and take advantage of new and faster 5G mobile networks. The device looks similar to a conventional smartphone, but then opens like a book to reveal a display the size of a small tablet at 7.3 inches (18.5 cm).
The device “answers skeptics who said that everything that could be done has been done,” DJ Koh, chief executive of Samsung Electronics, said at an event in San Francisco. “We are here to prove them wrong.”
Samsung remains the world’s largest smartphone maker with nearly a fifth of global unit sales but underperformed a slumping market last year. Chinese rival Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. — whose Mate series of phones also command premium prices — gained market share. Other Chinese makers like Xiaomi Corp. have also been increasing prices, leaving Samsung to defend its turf against upstart rivals in addition to its longtime foe Apple.
With the foldable phone, Samsung is going on the offense on two fronts in the smartphone race: It is offering an eye-catching new feature with the big, bending screen and the first 5G connection in a premium phone, a feature analysts do not expect Apple to match until 2020.
Samsung is also making improvements to its flagship Galaxy S devices and plans to offer a 4G version of its folding phone.
It also challenges the notion of what a phone can cost, debuting at nearly twice the price of current top-of-the-line models from Apple and Samsung itself.
Patrick Moorhead, founder of Moor Insights & Strategy, said the new folding device could help Samsung stay at the top and lure consumers to upgrade devices that have looked largely the same over the past five years.
“Samsung and Apple go back and forth” to lead the premium smartphone market, Moorhead said. “I think this is Samsung’s chance to take back the innovation crown.”
And even though the $1,980 starting price is steep, some dedicated Samsung fans said they would pay it. Navneet Kumar Singh, a Samsung enthusiast from India who traveled to San Francisco to watch the launch, is ready to place his order.
“The prices of the flagship models have been a little aggressive in India,” he said, “But in the end, if you invest the money you’re getting a different experience.”
Samsung also introduced several accessories to compete against Apple, including a pair of wireless headphones called Galaxy Buds. The headphones include wireless charging, a feature that Apple has promised to put into is competing AirPods but has not yet released.
Samsung also said that its new Galaxy phones will be able to wirelessly charge its headphones and new smartwatches by setting the accessories on the back of the phone.

10 times faster
Along with the folding phone, Samsung also added new cameras and a 5G version to its Galaxy series of phones.
Verizon Communications Inc. will be the first carrier to offer service for Samsung’s 5G phones. The networks are expected to be 10 times faster than current ones, improving viewing of live news and sports events.
With the 5G versions of its flagships, the Korean electronics maker looks to have beaten Chinese rivals in the 5G race, although the device will operate only on the small number of networks launching later this year. Apple is not expected to release a 5G smartphone until late 2020.
The new networks are not available in many places yet but will roll out this year and next. Consumers who want to hold on to their phones for several years before upgrading may be tempted to buy a 5G phone now so that it will be able to take advantage of those networks later, said Bob O’Donnell of TECHnalysis Research. That could sway some Apple buyers over to Samsung and other Android makers with 5G devices.
“People are going to be thinking about, am going to be able to use this a year from now? Two years from now? Three years?” he said.
Rival smartphone makers are expected to announce 5G models at next week’s Mobile World Congress, the industry’s top annual event, in Spain. Samsung said its 5G handset would be available in the early summer.
The Galaxy 10 series needs to appeal to consumers who are reluctant to upgrade for only incremental technological improvements in performance.
All of the Galaxy series of rigid phones except the 5G will be available from March 8, with the S10+ priced from $1,000, the S10 priced from $900 and the smaller S10e from $750.
The mainline S10 compares with $999 for Apple’s iPhone XS and $858 for Huawei’s premium Mate 20 Pro.