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.


Egypt stock market plunges as retail investors take flight

Updated 19 September 2018
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Egypt stock market plunges as retail investors take flight

  • Biggest index drop in Egypt since mid-2016
  • Saudi Arabia outperforms in Gulf

LONDON: Egyptian stocks tumbled to their lowest level this year on Wednesday as retail investors took flight.
A sharp rise in Suez Canal revenues, a major foreign exchange earner for the country, was not enough to quell investors concerns about the strength of the currency.
The main Egyptian stock index lost 3.8 percent which some fund managers blamed on generally negative sentiment toward emerging markets worldwide as well as more local speculation about possible currency devaluation.
“Our channel checks suggest the sell-off in the Egyptian market is local retail and institutions driven, on currency fears and speculation over a further round of devaluation,” said Vrajesh Bhandari, portfolio manager at Al Mal in Dubai, Reuters reported.
“Selling is further intensified as margin calls are triggered and technical support levels break down. The country canceled three consecutive Treasury auctions, citing investors’ unrealistic yield demands.”
Egypt’s Suez Canal revenues rose to $502.2 million in August up 6.7 percent from a year earlier according to official data released on Wednesday.
Elsewhere regional stock markets closed mostly lower with the exceptions of Abu Dhabi which edged 0.2 percent higher and Saudi Arabia, the best regional performer, which rose by 1.1 percent.
Saudi stocks are benefiting from the strong oil price which eased slightly yesterday but still hovered just under $79.
OPEC and some other oil producers including Russia will meet in Algeria on Sept. 23 to discuss how to allocate supply increases within their quota framework to offset the loss of oil exports from Iran following the introduction of sanctions by the US.
Those measures will come into force on Nov. 4 and data suggests that buyers are already retreating from Iranian crude purchases.
A key question for the oil price as well as regional stock markets in the weeks ahead will be the extent to which other Gulf oil exporters can compenaste for the loss of Iranian supplies by pumping more.