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Gold prices edge higher on softer dollar, year-end hedging

Gold prices rose slightly to their highest in nearly two months on Friday, heading for their best week in more than four months, as the dollar eased and investors hedged against risks ahead of the year-end.

Spot gold hit its highest since Nov. 4 at $1,513.88 per ounce and was up 0.1% at $1,512.81 per ounce by 0458 GMT. For the week, it has gained over 2% so far, its best since early August.

U.S. gold futures were up 0.2% at $1,517.60 per ounce.

“There’s risk hedging in the market ahead of the year-end. We broke $1,485, which likely triggered stop-loss buying and pushed gold up to $1,500 in a pretty liquid time of the year when volumes are lower than normal,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst, Asia Pacific at OANDA.

Apart from news that Russia could consider investing part of its National Wealth Fund in gold, a slightly weaker dollar against a basket of currencies supported bullion, by making the metal cheaper for holders of other currencies.

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Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Tuesday he saw investment in the metal as more sustainable in the long-term than in financial assets.

“If Russia starts holding gold, being one of the biggest supplier to the market, that would significantly dampen supplies. This is a significant macro driver,” said Stephen Innes, a market strategist at AxiTrader.

Limiting gold’s advance, Asian shares jumped to an 18-month high on optimism over the signing of a U.S.-China trade deal, after China’s Commerce Ministry said on Thursday Beijing and Washington were in close communication.

Gold is on track to register its best year since 2010, gaining nearly 18% so far this year, owing to a 17-month-long tariff war between the world’s top two economies.

Investors also took stock of data from China that showed profits at industrial firms grew at the fastest pace in eight months in November, but broad weakness in domestic demand remains a risk for company earnings next year.

Holdings in the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, rose 0.4% to 892.37 tonnes, its highest since Nov. 29. [GOL/ETF]

Elsewhere, silver fell 0.2% to $17.85 per ounce, while platinum rose 0.4% to $950.50. Both the metals were poised to register their best week since late August.

Palladium advanced 0.4% to $1,908.58 per ounce.

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