Gold Steady as Trump, Xi Telegraph More Trade Uncertainty

© Reuters. – When nothing looks clear, just hold. That seems to be the guide for gold traders these days as the constant back-and-forth in U.S.-China trade negotiations continues to send signals, mostly conflicting, to the market.

settled flat on Friday, while bullion dipped a tad after China’s President Xi Jinping said Beijing wanted a deal with the United States. But he said China will fight back if necessary against his counterpart President Donald Trump’s threat that Chinese imports will face more duties from Dec. 15 if a phase one agreement isn’t inked by then.

Trump, in latest comments, said a deal was “potentially very close.”

for December delivery on New York’s COMEX settled at $1,463.60 per ounce, the same as Thursday.

, which tracks live trades in bullion, was down 82 cents, or 0.1%, at $1,463.33 by 2:21 PM ET (19:21 GMT).

For the week, both benchmarks showed a modest declines of roughly 0.4%.

Gold traders have had a challenging week discerning direction due to the constantly shifting goalposts in the U.S.-China trade match.

“We have been working actively to try not to have a trade war. We did not initiate this trade war, and this is not something we want,” Xi said in remarks to journalists pooled by the South China Morning Post.

But he added that his administration also intended to “restore China’s dignity and status” and ensure the history of it being invaded and ruled by colonial powers once would “never be repeated again.”

Trump, while ambiguous on the trade war itself, chose to make bombastic comments on the ongoing strife in China’s Hong Kong territory and how the United States had prevented more casualties there — a statement almost certain to annoy Beijing.

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“If it weren’t for me, Hong Kong would have been obliterated in 14 minutes,” Trump told “Fox & Friends.”

Xi “has got a million soldiers standing outside of Hong Kong that aren’t going in, only because I ask him ‘please don’t do it, you’ll be making a big mistake,'” Trump said. “It’s going to have a tremendous negative impact on the trade deal … and he wants to make a trade deal.'”

Trump, who met Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell this week, also appeared to pressure the central bank to cut interest rates for a fourth-straight time in December. The Fed, however, said Powell did not discuss monetary policy in that meeting.

“Gold bugs (are) anticipating that the White House could be looking for reassurances that the Fed is ready to provide a backstop to the government should the trade war escalate,” TD Securities said in a note.

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