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Gold set for a weekly rise as U.S. tariffs on China kick in

By Diptendu Lahiri
Sets of gold bangles are displayed in a showcase of a showroom selling bridal jewellery in Peshawar, Pakistan May 9, 2018. REUTERS/Fayaz Aziz/Files

By Diptendu Lahiri

(Reuters) - Gold prices rose on Friday and were set to post a weekly rise as the United States raised tariffs on Chinese goods and increased fears of a global economic slowdown, with a weaker dollar also offering support to the precious metal.

Spot gold gained 0.3% to $1,287.39 per ounce at 10:54 am EDT (1454 GMT), and is up about 0.7% so far this week.

U.S. gold futures were up 0.2% at $1,288.20 an ounce.

"Gold is up today and will be up in the short term until there is a concrete resolution to the continuing trade tensions between the United States and China," said Rob Lutts, chief investment officer at Cabot Wealth Management.

The United States intensified a tariff war with China on Friday by hiking levies on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods amid talks to rescue a trade deal. U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he was in no hurry to sign a trade deal with China.

The escalation in the U.S.-China trade dispute has weighed on stock markets worldwide and boosted demand for assets viewed as safer, like gold, the yen and government bonds. [MKTS/GLOB]

The trade conflict between the United States and China could also force the U.S. Federal Reserve to cut interest rates, which could further support bullion prices.

Global anxiety has also seen an uptick as U.S. bombers arrived at a U.S. base in Qatar. The bombers have been sent to the Middle East to counter what Washington describes as threats from Iran.

"The Iran situation is not improving. Trump's policies have led to a change in the dynamics. We're not sure whether the changes will make the situation safer or not but the uncertainty will affect how investors see gold," Lutts added.

Bullion was also supported by a weaker dollar which fell after data showed a smaller-than-expected rise in the U.S. consumer price index last month.

Meanwhile, palladium climbed 4.2% to $1,348.10 per ounce, having fallen to its lowest since Jan. 4 at $1,263.85 in the previous session.

"The price slide temporarily made palladium cheaper than gold again for the first time since the start of the year," Commerzbank analysts said in a note.

The metal was on track for a second straight weekly decline of about 1.8%.

Silver was up 0.1% at $14.77 per ounce, while platinum rose 1.9% to $860.03.

Silver is on course to register a second straight week of declines, while platinum looks set for a third weekly drop in a row.

(Reporting by Diptendu Lahiri and Swati Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrea Ricci)