Gold slips from six-month peak, still on course for weekly gain

The price of gold has come down.
The price of gold has come down.
Image: Dudu Zitha

Gold slipped from a more than six-month high on Friday but was set to end the week up, helped by lingering worries about the global economy that have boosted appetite for the metal.

Spot gold touched its highest since mid-June at $1,298.42, but slipped back on profit taking to trade 0.4 percent lower on the day at $1,288.31 per ounce as of 1342 GMT. It was still up about 0.6 percent on the week.

U.S. gold futures were down 0.3 percent at $1,290.50 per ounce, having risen above $1,300 earlier in the session.

"Gold is pausing for breath right now, with obvious potential for short-term profit-taking from speculative investors," said Mitsubishi analyst Jonathan Butler.

"We have got to put it in the context of a rather impressive risk-off rally that we have seen since the middle of December, that led to gold going close to $1,300," he said.

Concerns about the global economy and a trade war between China and the United States that battered equity markets at the end of 2018 have supported gold, which is typically seen as safe-haven asset.

Gold extended losses after an upbeat employment report from the Labour Department showed U.S. employers hired the most workers in 10 months in December while boosting wages.

"Gold is looking slightly overbought at the moment, so there's a degree of caution," said Ross Norman, chief executive at Sharps Pixley.

Investors are now awaiting the outcome of a discussion between U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and former Fed chairs Janet Yellen and Ben Bernanke for clues on any further interest rate increases.

Rising rates lifts the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.

"A weaker dollar and low-risk environment are both proving to be very bullish factors for gold," said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA.

"But I feel we may have seen some profit-taking as we near the next big round number," he said, referring to the $1,300 level seen offering psychological resistance.

Indicating investor appetite for gold, holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose to 795.31 tonnes this week, their highest since early August.

Silver was steady at percent to $15.74 per ounce, having hit $15.87, its highest since mid-July.

Platinum was steady at $798.40 while palladium rose 0.2 percent to $1,265.49.

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