BENGALURU, July 11 (Reuters) - Gold prices inched lower early on Wednesday as the U.S. dollar firmed amid an escalating trade spat between the United States and China.
* Spot gold XAU= was down 0.3 percent at $1,251.74 an ounce at 0102 GMT.
* U.S. gold futures GCcv1 for August delivery were down 0.3 percent at $1,251.20 an ounce.
* The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was 0.1 percent higher at 94.209.
* The Trump administration raised the stakes in its trade war with China on Tuesday, saying it would slap 10 percent tariffs on an extra $200 billion worth of Chinese imports. Last week, Washington imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese imports, and Beijing responded immediately with matching tariffs on the same amount of U.S. exports to China. More American workers voluntarily quit their jobs in May, government data showed on Tuesday, a sign of confidence in the labor market that economists say will soon boost wage growth. British Prime Minister Theresa May won the support of senior ministers and an endorsement from Europe's most powerful leader, Angela Merkel, on Tuesday, surviving the explosive resignations of two top cabinet members in protest at her Brexit plans. Britain's economy picked up a bit of speed in May after slowing in early 2018, according to official figures that will give the Bank of England more confidence about raising interest rates next month for only the second time in over a decade. The European Central Bank defended its 2.6 trillion-euro bond-buying programme before the European Union's top court on Tuesday from accusations it was bankrolling governments and endangering taxpayer money. The NATO alliance holds a two-day summit from Wednesday looking stronger militarily than at any time since the Cold War and with plans to expand further to curb Russian power. Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust GLD , the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.22 percent to 799.02 tonnes on Tuesday from 800.77 tonnes on Monday. GOL/ETF
* The platinum market is expected to see its fourth consecutive surplus in 2018, led by a fall in demand in the automotive sector, yet supply is expected to drop and possibly support prices, CPM Group said on Tuesday.
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