Gold prices eased a bit Monday, languishing at their lowest levels in almost a year, though industrial metals traded mixed as immediate worries over a deeper global trade war cooled.
Market attention is fixed on the meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland on Monday. The two leaders are expected to discuss arms control, alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. 2016 election and Ukraine. Analysts said the summit will be analyzed for any hints that the U.S. sanctions against Russia will be lifted, while Trump said in an interview ahead of the summit that he’s going in “with low expectations.”
August gold lost $3.70, or 0.3%, to $1,244.90 an ounce. It settled Friday at $1,241.20, marking the lowest settlement for a most-active contract since July 17, 2017, according to FactSet data. The contract logged a 1.2% weekly decline last week, the fourth such loss in five weeks.
A popular fund tracking gold, the SPDR Gold Shares had steadied early Monday after it dropped 1.1% last week.
But as gold’s reaction to other recent global news events — such as risks tied to a potential global trade war — have revealed, the metal has largely unlinked from its traditional go-to haven role and that leaves many analysts struggling to nail down the metal’s next move.
“Speculative market participants have been betting for the most part on falling gold prices – they have not significantly expanded their net short positions in the past two weeks, however. Gold continues to be sold by ETF investors: last week saw outflows of 9 tons, and 22 tons since the start of the month,” said Carsten Fritsch and the commodities team at Commerzbank, in a note. “Yet these quantities are really too small to have any noticeable effect on the gold price. While gold demand in India has been subdued so far this year, it has at least picked up again somewhat in China and Hong Kong recently.”
A stronger dollar—which has drawn haven demand amid the clash over trade between the U.S. and China and has been pushed higher on rising-rate expectations—remains the most significant headwind for gold. A strengthening greenback can make commodities linked to the monetary unit, such as gold, more expensive to buyers using other currencies.
The ICE U.S. Dollar Index , a measure of the buck against a half-dozen monetary units, eased 0.2% in early Monday trading, but the drop offered little traction to gold. The index is up 2.7% so far this year.
Meanwhile, industrial metals traded narrowly mixed. September silver defied gold’s early move, tacking on 4 cents, or 0.3%, at $15.86 an ounce. Its close at $15.815 Friday was the lowest finish year to date for a most-active contract. Gold’s sister metal saw a weekly decline of 1.6%, with the metal dogged by a downturn in industrials metals on the back of tariff tensions and a retreat for precious metals.
September copper eased about 0.5% to $2.761 a pound after it logged a weekly loss of about 1.7%. October platinum was up 0.6% to $835.40 an ounce, ending 2.2% lower last week, while September palladium changed hands at $934.70 an ounce, up 0.2% on the day. The contract shed 1.6% for last week.