Gold prices rose on Friday as investors fled to safe-haven assets after US President Donald Trump re-ignited trade war fears by proposing $100 billion in new tariffs on China. Spot gold rose 0.3 percent to $1,330.18 per ounce as of 0320 GMT, and the U.S. gold futures rose 0.4 percent to $1,333.50 an ounce. The yellow metal was up 0.5 percent so far this week. Gold on Thursday dropped to a one-week low of $1,322.40 an ounce after the United States and China signalled a willingness to negotiate their trade dispute.
However, Trump late on Thursday said he had instructed U.S. trade officials to consider $100 billion in additional tariffs on China, fuelling an already heated trade dispute between the world's two biggest economies.
"Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, President Trump orders USTR to consider $100 (billion) in additional tariffs confirming the view that trade war rhetoric is unlikely to leave the picture anytime soon," said Stephen Innes, head of trading in Asia-Pacific for OANDA in Singapore.
U.S. equity futures slipped on Friday and the yen rose against the dollar, benefiting gold, often seen as an alternative investment during times of political and financial uncertainty.
While a holiday in China kept trading volumes thin, investors awaited March U.S. non-farm payrolls data and comments by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell later on Friday.
"There are the usual precautionary position adjustments in the game ahead of the NFP (non-farm payroll) as a substantial employment number, and wage growth would see the market quickly price in a more aggressive Fed policy (4 rate hikes) and push gold prices lower," Innes said.
However, the focus will be more on the trade war and the non-farm payroll data will have a short-term impact on gold prices, according to Brian Lan, managing director at dealer GoldSilver Central in Singapore.
Holdings of the SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 0.24 percent to 854.09 tonnes on Thursday.
The holdings of North American gold-backed exchange traded funds rose by 21.5 tonnes, worth $916.9 million, in March, a 1.7 percent increase from the month prior, the World Gold Council said on Thursday.
In other precious metals, spot silver was up 0.2 percent at $16.38 an ounce.
Platinum gained 0.1 percent to $911 an ounce, while palladium was steady at $905.40 an ounce.
© Thomson Reuters 2018
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