Gold prices edged up on Friday and were on track to rise for the fourth straight week, the longest string of weekly gains since January, as Asian stocks slumped amid increasing worries over the outlook for U.S. corporate earnings and global economic slowdown.
Asian shares skidded to 20-month lows, S&P futures fell sharply and China’s yuan weakened at the end of a turbulent week for financial markets on Friday.
Spot gold was up 0.27 percent at $1,234.88 an ounce. It was up 0.7 percent for the week.
U.S. gold futures were up 0.4 percent at $1,237.30 an ounce.
“We had a pretty good rally in gold since the stock market crash. People are more concerned about the current geo-political risks and gold is being looked at more favourably now than in the past,” said Yuichi Ikemizu, Tokyo branch manager, ICBC Standard Bank.
Financial markets have been whipsawed in recent sessions on concerns over global growth as investors fretted over Sino-U.S. trade frictions, a mixed bag of U.S. corporate earnings, Federal Reserve rate hikes and Italian budget woes.
Gold, used as an alternative investment during times of political and financial uncertainty, has gained about 6 percent after falling in mid-August to their lowest since January 2017 at $1,159.96 an ounce.
However, the yellow metal has declined about 10 percent from its April peak after investors preferred the dollar as the U.S.-China trade war unfolded against a background of higher U.S. interest rates.
“Gold markets have entered a new trading zone of $1,228-$1,238, with investor mood swings on the S&P steering the ship,” said Stephen Innes, APAC trading head at OANDA in Singapore.
“The short-term narrative is caught between a hawkish U.S. Federal Reserve and a weaker equity market now.”
A target range of $1,252-$1,263 per ounce has been aborted for spot gold, as it failed again to break a resistance at $1,238, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.
Meanwhile, the dollar index, which measures the greenback against six major currencies, was down 0.1 percent.
Among other precious metals, palladium was down 0.13 percent at $1,198.50 an ounce, but away from a record high of $1,150.50 an ounce hit on Tuesday.
“Concerns around U.S. sanctions on Russia have eased a little bit, so not surprising to see investors lock in some of the gains (in palladium) achieved in the past week. But it still looks fairly constructive at least in the short-term,” ANZ analyst Daniel Hynes said.
Silver rose 0.21 percent to $14.64 per ounce, and platinum was up 0.72 percent at $828.90 an ounce.