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Gold holds steady as equities slip

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Jan 23 (Reuters) - Gold held steady on Wednesday after posting its best daily gain in two weeks in the previous session, with investors drawn to bullion as global equities slipped on economic growth fears and the U.S.-China trade dispute.

Spot gold was little changed at $1,284.87 an ounce by 1054 GMT, while U.S. gold futures were up 0.1 percent at $1,284.01.

"Any weakness in stocks is likely to attract a bid because the market is looking towards gold as a safe haven at this stage," said Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen.

"We have seen demand for exchange-traded funds (ETFs) continue to pick up despite the strong recovery in stocks this month. This indicates the market does not believe we are out of the woods just yet and that growth worries remain."

Reflecting investor appetite for gold, holdings of SPDR Gold , the largest gold-based ETF, was at its highest since June 2018. Renewed fears about a slowdown, exacerbated by economic data from the United States and Japan and the International Monetary Fund's latest downgrade to global growth projections, sapped appetite for risky assets, dragging on shares and bond yields. Additionally, the Financial Times said the United States rejected a Chinese offer for preparatory trade talks this week ahead of high-level negotiations scheduled for next week. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow denied the report. Also supporting gold was a prolonged partial U.S. government shutdown and expectations that the Federal Reserve would pause increases to interest rates, analysts said. Higher interest rates tend to reduce the appetite for non-yielding bullion.

"If sound bites from the gathering (World Economic Forum in Davos) sour the markets' mood, another drop in bond yields may prove to be supportive for gold prices, although again, the move might be tempered by haven-bound flows into the U.S. dollar," said Ilya Spivak, senior currency strategist at DailyFx.

Capping gold's gains was a buoyant dollar holding near three-week highs. Spot gold could break support at $1,279 and fall to the next support at $1,268, as suggested by its wave pattern, a projection analysis and a rising trendline, said Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao. Meanwhile, palladium , which hit a record high of $1,434.50 an ounce last week on low inventories and rising demand, was down for a fourth session, shedding 0.3 percent to $1,341.

Silver rose 0.3 percent to $15.37 an ounce and platinum was up 0.4 percent at $791.

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