Gold futures rallied Friday to their highest finish in five weeks, notching a weekly gain of almost 3%, as the threat of a looming trade war between the U.S. and China intensified.
“Gold’s gains feel unexpected, but considering the growing volatility in the equity markets and uncertainty surrounding the Chinese-U.S. tariffs, the implications from a larger trade war are sending safety into precious metals,” said Peter Spina, president and chief executive officer of GoldSeek.com.
April gold GCJ8, +1.51% surged $22.50, or 1.7%, to settle at $1,349.90 an ounce, ending at its highest levels since Feb. 16, according to FactSet data. Prices saw a weekly rise of about 2.9%.
Gold had already settled at a roughly two-week high a day earlier on weakness for the U.S. dollar in the wake of the Federal Reserve’s move to raise interest rates this week, and hint of a less-aggressive policy this year. Among economic data Friday, U.S. durable-goods orders jumped 3.1%, while new home sales edged down by 0.6% last month.
But investors turned their attention to global trade wars Friday, as China fired back at the Trump administration’s move to add tariffs on at least $50 billion worth of goods. China’s commerce ministry on Friday said it would impose tariffs on $3 billion in U.S. goods, with officials accusing the U.S. of violating global trade rules.
hat “looming trade dispute” has caused “stock markets world-wide to fall, bond yields to decline, and the U.S. dollar to weaken—all of those being factors that are positive for gold,” said analysts at Commerzbank in a note to clients.
The U.S. Dollar Index DXY, -0.37% fell 0.5%, set for a weekly loss of 0.9%. Gold and the dollar typically move inversely, as moves in the U.S. unit can influence the attractiveness of commodities to holders of other currencies. U.S. stocks, however, were mixed as gold prices settled, though key benchmarks were poised for weekly losses.
“Should a larger capital inflow sustain due to a falling market and U.S. dollar, gold could make a 10%-plus move in the coming several weeks,” said Spina.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump replacing former national security adviser Herbert Raymond McMaster with “foreign policy hard-liner” John Bolton, “could make new sanctions on Iran more likely, which no doubt would further unsettle market participants and lend support in turn to gold,” said Commerzbank analysts.
Michael Kosares, founder of gold broker USAGOLD, said that with Bolton’s appointment, combined with Trump upping the ante on tariffs and the Feb “dialing down hawkish sentiment,” he expects gold’s rally to “continue into next week and perhaps beyond as all three of the week’s events have staying power.”
Silver also moved higher, with the May contract SIK8, +0.90% up 1.2%, to $16.582 an ounce, for a weekly rise of 1.9%.
May copper HGK8, -1.37% fell 0.9% to $2.993 a pound, settling down 3.7% on the week. April platinum PLJ8, -0.14% shed less than 0.1% to $948.40 an ounce, with prices losing 0.2% for the week, while June palladium PAM8, -1.24% fell 1% to $971.55 an ounce, for a weekly decline of 1.7%.
Among exchange-traded funds, the iShares Silver Trust SLV, +0.06% was up 1.2% to build a weekly rise of 1.5%, while the SPDR Gold Shares GLD, +0.11% added 1.6% to trade 2.7% higher for the week. The VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF GDX, +0.27% was up 3.8%, setting the stage for a weekly climb of 4.1%.
Spina said “if gold miners accelerate with strong volume buying, then we could be seeing a larger sustained up move in gold beginning.”
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