Mumbai, March 30:

Gold prices steadied on Friday, but was headed for its worst month since August 2018 predominantly on stronger dollar and equities, while palladium bounced back after three straight sessions of sharp selloffs. Spot gold was flat at $1,290.34 per ounce, after declining about 1.5% in the previous session, the most in over seven months.

The metal is set for its first weekly fall in four and has lost about 1.7% this month. But on a quarterly basis, gold is on path for a second straight rise, due to a dovish US Federal Reserve and concerns about a global economic slowdown.

US gold futures were down 0.1% at $1,288.70 an ounce.

The dollar was poised for its strongest monthly gain in five, while Asian shares rose on hopes that Washington and Beijing are making progress in trade talks.

The world’s two largest economies started the new round of talks on Thursday to end the year-long tit-for-tat tariffs war.

“If we have a positive outcome from the trade talks, gold will be under pressure as investors will rotate out into more risk seeking assets,” said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst with OANDA.

“But, if we have disappointing outcome then stocks will go down and people will move into safe-haven assets like gold. The market is very much in a wait and see mode.”

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Thursday the United States could lift some tariffs on China, while leaving others in place as part of an enforcement mechanism on a trade deal.

Meanwhile, spot palladium rose 0.7% to $1,357.68 an ounce on Friday, recovering from a two-month low touched in the previous session.

The metal, used in the making of catalytic converters in vehicles, slid 6.6% on Thursday, the most since January 2017, and was set for its worst week since November 2015, as worries about a slowdown in global economic growth triggered a sharp sell-off.

On a monthly basis, it was headed for its biggest drop since end-2016.

“Negative market sentiment due to slowing economic growth triggered speculative selling in palladium,” ANZ analysts said in a note.

Elsewhere, silver was flat at $15.02 an ounce, while platinum rose about 0.5% to $841 an ounce.

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