Gold futures were mostly steady on Friday after settling at a three-month low a day earlier, and look to be heading for their biggest weekly decline since May 2017.
Losses for the week came on the back of a rotation by investors out of assets perceived as safe and into those they could offer richer returns given optimism about progress on a U.S. – China trade deal.
During the week, Treasury yields also saw a sharp rise and the U.S. dollar strengthened along with reports of a Phase-1 trade agreement reaching final stages, prompting gold to become less attractive in the short term, said Jeff Wright, executive vice president of GoldMining Inc.
On Friday, however, President Donald Trump told reporters that he hasn’t yet agreed to remove tariffs on Chinese goods.
Against that backdrop, gold futures seesawed between losses and gains. December gold GCZ19, +0.02% on Comex was last down by 40 cents, or 0.04%, to $1,466 an ounce, after declining 1.8% on Thursday to its lowest settlement for a most-active contract since Aug. 2, according to FactSet data. December silver SIZ19, -0.59% lost 8 cents, or 0.5%, to $16.95 adding to its 3.3% tumble from a day ago.
For the week, gold was set to give up 3%, while silver was on pace for a 6.2% skid for the period. Those losses would put gold on pace for its steepest weekly skid May 2017, while it would mark silver’s sharpest such fall since July of 2017.
White House Advisor Peter Navarro said that U.S. hadn’t yet agreed to roll back tariffs, amid reports that there were disagreements within the Trump administration whether to remove existing import levies.
On Thursday, China’s Ministry of Commerce said both sides had accepted that if a phase one trade deal came to pass, the U.S. and China would reduce tariffs simultaneously and proportionately.
Still, strength in U.S. equity markets for the week, and a better-than-anticipated earnings season for large cap equities, “have all led to an exit for many generalists in gold positions,” said Wright.
A recovery for gold is possible in the coming weeks, he said, pointing out that impeachment hearings begin next week in the U.S., but “gold will have to defend $1425-1450 before contemplating a move upward.”
Also on Comex Friday, December copper HGZ19, -1.45% fell 1.4% to $2.6905 a pound, but trading 1.4% higher for the week. January platinum PLF20, -2.29% shed 2.3% to $892.80 an ounce, poised for a 6.4% loss for the week. December palladium PAZ19, -3.38% traded at $1,717 an ounce, down 3.4% in Friday dealings and trading 3.8% lower for the week.
Among exchange-traded funds, the iShares Silver Trust SLV, -0.91% was on track to shed 6.4% for the week, which would represent the exchange-traded fund’s sharpest weekly drop since October 2016, according to FactSet data. Meanwhile, SPDR Gold Shares GLD, -0.04% was set to notch a 3.1% loss, which would be its worst such decline since May 2017.