Gold trades near two-week high on U.S.-EU trade tensions

(Reuters) – Gold on Wednesday traded near a two-week high hit in the previous session, as investors worried about the trade tensions between the United States and Europe, and as the International Monetary Fund cut its global growth outlook.

FILE PHOTO: Gold bars at the Austrian Gold and Silver Separating Plant ‘Oegussa’ in Vienna, Austria, March 18, 2016. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo

FUNDAMENTALS

Spot gold was down about 0.1 percent at $1,303.14 per ounce as of 0110 GMT, after touching its highest since March 28 at $1,306.09 in the previous session.

U.S. gold futures were also down about 0.1 percent at $1,307.60 an ounce.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened to impose tariffs on $11 billion worth of European Union products, heightening tensions over a long-running transatlantic aircraft subsidy dispute and opening a new front in his global trade war.

The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday cut its global economic growth forecasts for 2019 and warned growth could slow further due to trade tensions and a potentially disorderly British exit from the European Union.

Britain will suffer economic damage equivalent to the loss of at least 2-3 years of normal growth between now and the end of 2021 if it leaves the European Union without an exit deal, the International Monetary Fund warned on Tuesday.

European Union leaders will grant British Prime Minister Theresa May a second delay to Brexit but they could demand she accepts a much longer extension as France pushed for conditions to limit Britain’s ability to undermine the bloc.

The European Central Bank is all but certain to keep policy on hold on Wednesday, taking its time to evaluate whether its most recent stimulus cocktail is enough to arrest a rapid decline in sentiment.

Venezuela removed eight tonnes of gold from the central bank’s vaults last week, and the cash-strapped socialist state is expected to sell the bullion abroad as it seeks to raise hard currency in the face of U.S. sanctions, a lawmaker and one government source said.

SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings fell 0.35 percent to 757.85 tonnes on Tuesday.

Reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

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