|   Commentary


  |   Commentary


Gold eases as better-than-expected Chinese trade surplus boosts risk appetite

Gold prices declined as risk sentiment improved following the release of better-than-expected Chinese trade balance data, although downside appears limited as weak economic data out of the United States at the end of last week raised fears over the global economic recovery from the COVID-19 slump.

Spot gold was trading 0.3 percent lower at $1,929.14 per ounce by 0716 GMT, having hit a low of $1916.69 on Friday, its lowest since August 27. U.S. gold trades flat at $1,935.20.

China's exports rose for the third consecutive month in August, while imports extended fall, as more of its trading partners relaxed coronavirus restrictions. The country's exports in August rose 9.5 percent from a year earlier, while imports decreased 2.1 percent on year, which put the trade surplus at $58.93 billion, compared with the poll's forecast for a $50.50 billion surplus.

Last week, a private survey on manufacturing activity showed Chinese factories reported the first rise in new export orders this year in August as overseas demand slowly recovered that could lead a further expansion in production.

U.S. employment growth slowed in August and permanent job losses increased as government funding started depleting, raising doubts on the sustainability of the economy's recovery from the deep COVID-19 recession.

U.S. nonfarm payrolls increased by 1.371 million jobs in August after rising 1.734 million in July, while the unemployment rate declined to 8.4 percent from 10.2 percent in July.

The slowdown in the U.S. jobs growth put the spotlight on the White House and Congress to restart stalled negotiations for another fiscal package. On Sunday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said a deal between the White House and Congress would fund the federal government through the beginning of December and that details of the spending bill should be finalised by week's end.

According to a Reuters tally, there are reports of more than 26.97 million cases of the novel coronavirus globally and 879,675 people have died. 

The dollar index eased from a 1-week high scaled in the previous session after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell reiterated that the central bank plans to keep U.S. rates lower for long.

Asian shares consolidate within narrow ranges as optimism about global economic recovery faded due to a deep coronavirus-induced recession.

The greenback against a basket of currencies traded 0.1 percent down at 92.86, having touched a high of 93.24 on Friday, its highest since August 27. The U.S. Treasury yields rebounded, with the benchmark 10-year note yield trading at 0.721 percent.

Trading activity is likely to remain subdued as U.S. financial markets are closed on account of Labour Day.

Markets now await policy meetings at the Bank of Canada on Wednesday and the European Central Bank on Thursday, with both expected to keep policy steady.

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