Gold ETFs Rally As Precious Metal Climbs Amid China Tensions

Gold prices are climbing back above the $1,700 an ounce level on Friday afternoon as U.S. President Trump heightened geopolitical pressure by threatening new tariffs against China over the coronavirus crisis, and stocks have been in the red all day after commencing a fresh selloff on Thursday.

The shiny metal was trading more than $20 overnight, in a move driven by “end of month position squaring and USD flows in a low liquidity environment,” according to TD Securities head of global strategy Bart Melek.

Many analysts view a pullback in gold as ephemeral however. “There is a lot more upside for gold to make up some of the losses this week. The outlook is still pretty bullish for gold in general. This is just a bump in the road before we see higher prices next week,” Gainesville Coins precious metals expert Everett Millman said on Friday. “My outlook is for gold to go higher.”

Millman has suggested that the metal could see $1,800 an ounce level in May. “It wouldn’t take a whole lot to push gold up to $1,800,” he said.

With President Trump ramping up tensions with China, even going so far as to suggest that the coronavirus was created in a lab in Wuhan and released from there, a spike in gold could result as investors once again flee markets for safety, especially if volatility continues to broaden. The CBOE Volatility Index has already rallied from roughly 30.5 to 39.5 in just 2 days, a 30% increase in volatility, as stocks have sold off.

“That’s absolutely something that should be on everyone’s radar because it could get very bad very quickly,” Blue Line Futures chief market strategist Phillip Streible noted. “Long before the coronavirus, the big geopolitical and macro economic factor for gold was the trade war between the U.S. and China. So if those tensions again escalate, we could revert back to that being the big driver for global markets, especially if China retaliates rhetorically against the U.S.”

President Trump explained to reporters on Thursday that the phase-one trade deal with China was now reprioritized to the coronavirus pandemic and threatened new tariffs against Beijing.

“We signed a trade deal where they’re supposed to buy, and they’ve been buying a lot, actually. But that now becomes secondary to what took place with the virus,” Trump said. “The virus situation is just not acceptable.”

Gold ETFs are moving higher today amid the news, with the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) up 0.71% and the iShares Gold Trust (IAU) gaining 0.81% Friday.

ETF demand has helped bump pricing 11% higher in the year to date, including 4% higher in the first quarter, and the precious metal “is now approaching its all-time highs of $1,900 set in August 2011,” Nicholas Colas, Co-founder of DataTrek Research, wrote in a quarterly report.

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