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Gold prices rise on trade war fears, Britain-Russia tensions

Gold prices edged up on Thursday, lingering near one-week highs hit in the previous session on political tensions between Britain and Russia and as worries over a potential trade war dragged on stocks and the dollar.

Spot gold rose 0.2 percent to $1,326.83 per ounce at 0431 GMT.

U.S. gold futures for April delivery rose 0.1 percent to $1,327.00 per ounce.

“Gold has been supported by geopolitical factors as well as dollar weakness … Stock markets were down overnight, we’ve got a bit of risk-aversion coming back in,” said a Hong Kong-based trader. He declined to be identified as he was not authorized to speak with media.

The U.S. dollar fell against the yen and pulled further away from a recent two-week high, while stock markets slipped broadly as lingering worries about global trade tensions weighed on investors appetite for risk.

The Trump administration is pressing China to cut its trade surplus with the United States by $100 billion, a White House spokeswoman said on Wednesday, clarifying a tweet last week from President Donald Trump.

On Wednesday, geopolitical tensions rose after the Russian Foreign Ministry said it would retaliate after 23 of its diplomats were expelled by British Prime Minister Theresa May over a chemical attack on a former Russian double agent in England that May blamed on Moscow.

U.S. television commentator and conservative economic analyst Larry Kudlow will replace Gary Cohn as President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, adding another loyalist to Trump’s inner circle.

“I think Kudlow’s comments will probably support more of a trade war rhetoric than a stronger dollar,” the trader said, adding “gold needs to close above the $1,330 level to start getting some traction”.

Trump also spooked investors on Tuesday by firing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was viewed as a supporter of free trade.

“The market continues to trade the range with Asian buyers stepping in under $1,320 and speculator profit-taking and producer selling capping the topside around $1,330-$1,335,” said MKS PAMP Group trader Alex Thorndike.

“Gold will likely remain range-bound into next week’s U.S. Federal Reserve meeting, with the market eagerly anticipating a first rate rise for the year, given the economy’s improved data.”

Spot gold is biased to retrace towards support at $1,317 per ounce, as it seems to have finished a bounce triggered by this level, according to Reuters technical analyst, Wang Tao.

Meanwhile, silver rose 0.3 percent to $16.54 per ounce and platinum gained 0.5 percent to $963.20 per ounce.

Palladium edged 0.6 percent higher to $993.00 per ounce after hitting $1,006.30 an ounce in the last session, its highest since March 1.

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