Picture: BLOOMBERG/KIYOSHI OTA
Picture: BLOOMBERG/KIYOSHI OTA

LONDON — Gold fell on Friday, as the dollar and shares rose, but fund buying persisted as investors expected a G20 summit would produce little in the way of a coordinated stimulus programme.

Financial leaders from G20 nations gathered in Shanghai against a backdrop of worsening economic conditions and a lack of wider consensus on how to fix the problems.

Spot gold was down 0.5% at $1,227.06 an ounce by 2.56pm GMT.

"The increase in price this year has been supported by physical purchases, very strong in the funds and concerns are more global in nature, with increasing probability that there will be a recession in the US," Julius Baer analyst Warren Kreyzig said.

Concerns that a slowing global economy could eventually push the United States into recession eased on Friday as data showed US economic growth slowed less than expected in the fourth quarter.

The dollar rose 0.6% against a basket of main currencies, extending earlier gains after the GDP data.

Despite Friday’s losses, gold seems to have rediscovered its role as a shelter for risk-averse investors. It has risen around 16% this year as share prices have tumbled and fears of a global economic slowdown increased. It hit a one-year high of $1,260.60 this month, further supported by the repricing of expectations for US interest rate rises.

"We moderated our growth targets for the European Union and the US considerably; we have lowered our rates expectations by the end of the year and we have reduced our S&P target for the end of the year. All of this is positive for gold," Deutsche Bank commodity analyst Michael Hsueh said.

Gold funds accumulated their largest inflows since 2009 in the last week as financial market turmoil continued to unnerve investors, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said on Friday.

Assets of SPDR Gold Trust, the top bullion exchange-traded fund, rose to their highest since March 2015 on Wednesday.

The increase in ETFs this year is the highest since 2010.

Bullion is also supported by strong technicals.

Gold prices have developed a bullish technical formation called the ‘golden cross,’ where the 50-day moving average goes above the 200-day moving average.

The shorter-term price average is now about $3 above the longer-term average.

Among other precious metals, platinum dropped to a three-week low of $912.84 an ounce, while silver fell 1.7% to $14.92 an ounce. Palladium rose 1.1% to $485.90 an ounce, but remained near a six-week low reached in the previous session.

Reuters