Gold Prices Head Higher as China-U.S. Tensions Spur Haven Buying

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Gold futures rose on Thursday as China-U.S. tensions remained in focus, driving haven buying on Wall Street.

“Souring China-U.S. relations are back on the front burner of the market place,” wrote Jim Wyckoff, senior analyst at Kitco.com in a Thursday research note.

Elevated animosities between Beijing and Washington over China’s human rights policies, including its relationship with Hong Kong and the treatment of a Muslim minority, have underpinned buying in haven assets.

China on Thursday hardened its stance, forging ahead with a resolution to impose national-security laws on Hong Kong in a bid to suppress protests there.

That action comes after the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill that would sanction Chinese officials involved in the suppression of Uighurs. The proposal follows the State Department’s determination that Hong Kong no longer was semiautonomous from China, opening the way for President Donald Trump to take a range of steps including revoking special arrangements on trade.

August gold GCQ20, 0.62% GC00, 0.61%, which is now the most-active contract, climbed $12.20, or 0.7%, at $1,739 an ounce, after slipping less than 0.1% on Wednesday.

July silver SIN20, 0.92% was up 8 cents, or 0.5%, at $17.83 an ounce, following a 0.9% gain in the previous session.

A string of economic reports that highlight the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. did little to sway gold momentum on the session.

On Thursday, the Labor Department said 2.12 million unemployed Americans applied for state unemployment benefits in the week ended May 23. That is down from 2.4 million in the prior week.

Meanwhile, data showed that the U.S. economy contracted at an annual 5% pace in the first quarter instead of 4.8%, revised government data show. A downward revision to inventory investment mostly accounted for the downward revision, the Commerce Department, while orders for durable goods tumbled 17.2% in April. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a drop of 18.2%.

Among other metals Wednesday, July copper…

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