Gold Futures Settle Modestly Higher

Gold prices edged higher on Tuesday, rebounding after two successive days of losses, as equities turned weak and the dollar edged down amid uncertainty about a U.S.-China trade deal before this weekend.

However, with traders looking ahead to the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy statement and its views on the economy, due on Wednesday, the yellow metal moved in a tight band in today’s session.

The dollar index drifted down to 97.43, giving up about 0.21% from previous close.

Gold futures for February ended up $3.20, or about 0.2%, at $1,468.10 an ounce.

On Monday, gold futures for February ended down $0.20, or about 0.01%, at $1,464.90 an ounce.

Silver futures for March ended up $0.060 at $16.702 an ounce, while Copper futures for March settled at $2.7655 per pound, up $0.0070 from previous close.

On the trade front, Washington is due to impose new tariff hikes on $160 billion of Chinese goods if the two sides fail to reach an accord before the December 15 deadline.

However, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. will likely delay imposing additional tariffs on Chinese goods.

Citing officials on both sides, the Journal said negotiators are laying the groundwork for delaying the tariffs set to kick in on December 15th as they continue to haggle over getting China to commit to massive purchases of U.S. farm products.

An earlier report from the South China Morning Post (SCMP) said a trade deal between the U.S. and China is unlikely to be completed this week.

However, the SCMP said sources close to the talks do not expect the tariffs planned for December 15th to take effect, adding to a growing chorus on both sides who expect de-escalation this week.

China’s assistant minister of commerce Ren Hongbin said Beijing is hoping negotiations can conclude on a trade deal before the new tariffs kick in this weekend.

Meanwhile, a two-day meeting of the Federal Reserve concludes on Wednesday, with economists expecting no change in economic forecasts and the interest rate outlook.

Similarly, no surprises are expected on Thursday from the European Central Bank under the leadership of previous IMF head Christine Lagarde.

In economic news, revised data released by the Labor Department showed U.S. labor productivity dipped 0.2% in the third quarter, compared to the previously reported 0.3% drop. Economists had expected the decrease in productivity to be revised to just 0.1%.

The modest decrease in productivity in the third quarter compares to the 2.5% jump in productivity seen in the second quarter.

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