Gold prices held steady on Thursday as weak United States retail sales data fanned concerns that the country’s economy may be feeling the pinch of the long-drawn trade war with China, while palladium held close to a record high hit the previous day.
* Spot gold inched 0.1% higher to $1,490.37 per ounce as of 0044 GMT. U.S. gold futures rose 0.1% to $1,495.60.
* Asian shares were subdued as the soft U.S. sales data pointed to signs that the U.S. economy was beginning to show signs of weakness, and a global recession was looming.
* U.S. retail sales fell for the first time in seven months in September, suggesting that manufacturing-led weakness could be spreading to the broader economy, keeping the door open for the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates again later this month.
* Investors awaited further news on the U.S.-China trade front. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday that trade negotiators are working on nailing down a phase 1 trade deal text for their presidents to sign next month.
* Elsewhere, a European Union leaders’ two-day summit in Brussels starting on Thursday will be dominated by last-gasp efforts to seal a deal on Britain’s exit from the bloc despite a raft of other pressing issues, from the crisis in the Middle East to the EU budget.
* Investors have welcomed optimistic comments from key officials during last few days. British culture minister Nicky Morgan said late on Wednesday there is a good chance of a deal.
* Indicative of sentiment, SPDR Gold Trust GLD, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.16% to 918.19 tonnes on Wednesday from 919.66 tonnes on Tuesday.
* Palladium rose 0.2% to $1,770.54 an ounce on Thursday after notching a fresh high of $1,779.23 on Wednesday.