By Amrith Ramkumar
Gold prices fell Monday, hurt by a stronger dollar after President Trump threatened to escalate the U.S.-China trade fight.
Gold for June delivery, the most-active futures contract, inched down 0.2% to $1,278.80 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices are roughly flat for the year and about 5% below their February 10-month peaks, hurt by strength in the dollar and renewed faith in the U.S. economy.
Even during occasional bouts of market volatility this year, the safe-haven metal has struggled for traction with investors favoring the dollar and U.S. Treasurys, making gold less attractive by comparison, analysts say.
A stronger dollar makes gold and other commodities denominated in the U.S. currency more expensive for overseas buyers. On Monday, the WSJ Dollar Index, which tracks the U.S. currency against a basket of 16 other currencies, rose 0.3%.
The move came after President Trump threatened over the weekend to raise levies on $200 billion in Chinese imports to 25% on Friday from 10%. He also said he would levy 25% duties "shortly" on $325 billion in imports that haven't yet been taxed.
Even though stocks tumbled on the threat, analysts said it exacerbated fears that economic activity overseas would continue to lag far behind growth in the U.S., a trend that has lifted the dollar in recent months and hurt gold.
Elsewhere in precious metals Monday, most-active silver futures fell 1.2% to $14.80 a troy ounce. Platinum shed 1.4% to $862.40, while palladium dropped 1.3% to $1,340.90.
Among base metals, most-active Comex copper futures fell 0.5% to $2.8050 a pound, extending a recent slide on renewed worries about trade and economic growth in China, the world's largest consumer of industrial metals.
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