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Gold Struggles as Global Trade Tensions Escalate

Gold has posted considerable losses in the Wednesday session. In North American trade, the spot price for one ounce of gold is $1246.24, down 0.74% on the day. On the release front, inflation reports narrowly beat their estimates. Core PPI was unchanged at 0.3%, beating the forecast of 0.2%. PPI dropped from 0.5% to 0.3%, above the estimate of 0.2%. On Thursday, the U.S releases key consumer spending reports as well as unemployment claims.

The markets remain nervous about the worsening global trade war, particularly between the United States and China. After the two economic giants imposed tariffs on each other of some $30 billion, the Trump administration has raised the ante, threatening to hit China with further tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. China cannot retaliate in kind, since it does not import that amount of goods from the U.S. Still, the Chinese can take steps which will make it more difficult for U.S companies to do business in China. President Trump’s presence at the NATO summit will not bolster investor confidence, as Trump has lashed out at Germany and other NATO members for not paying their fair share in defense spending.

Gold is sensitive to interest rate moves and investors and traders continue to look for clues about the Federal Reserve’s monetary plans. The Fed is expected to continue raising rates in the second half of 2018, but it remains unclear if the Fed will raise rates once or twice. The highly-anticipated FOMC minutes did not shed any light on this question and had little effect on gold prices. Fed policymakers remain bullish over the strong U.S economy, but remain concerned about developments abroad. These include growing trade tensions with U.S trading partners, as well as political and economic developments in Europe. The markets are circling the September policy meeting for the next rate hike, with the CME Group setting the odds of a quarter-point hike at 84%.

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