By Barani Krishnan
Investing.com - The range-bound, tight moves in gold may be reaching an inflection point with the U.S. saying that reaching a trade deal with China isn't going to be easy.
Investors have been using gold as a hedge toward the U.S.-China trade negotiations, extending the yellow metal's safe-haven play.
Gold did not rise as expected on Wednesday as Wall Street's main indexes fell on U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer's admission that issues with China were "too serious" to be resolved by promises of more purchases of U.S. goods by Beijing.
Gold futures on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange were down $7.25, or 0.6%, at $1,321.25 per ounce by 1:00 PM ET (18:00 GMT)
Spot gold, reflective of trades in physical bullion, slid by $9.46, or 0.7%, to $1,319.52 per ounce.
Lighthizer, President Donald Trump's top trade negotiator, said in testimony at a Congressional hearing that any deal between the two countries must include a way to ensure commitments are met and it is too early to predict the outcome of ongoing trade talks.
"(Lighthizer) was certainly talking as if a deal isn't imminent," Michael Antonelli, managing director, institutional sales trading at Robert W. Baird in Milwaukee, told Reuters.
Gold is also holding solidly above $1,300 on Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's assurances that it was in no hurry to raise U.S. interest rates this year after the four hikes in 2018.
"All these comments give investors some confidence that there is still upside potential in the price of gold," Walter Pehowich, executive vice-president at Dillon Gage Metals in Addison, Texas, told Investing.com.
Palladium, meanwhile, reached a new record high just shy of $1,570 per ounce before falling on profit-taking.
The spot price of palladium was down $41.35, or 2.6%, at 1,525.05 per ounce by 12:56 PM ET (17:56 GMT), after scaling $1,569.40 earlier to overwrite Tuesday's peak of $1,568.45. That retained the auto-catalyst metal's position as the world's costliest traded metal.
Trades in other Comex metals as of 1:00 PM ET (18:00 GMT):
Palladium futures down up $42.60, or 2.8%, at $1,477.10 per ounce.
Platinum futures up $7.80, or 0.9%, at $868.20 per ounce.
Silver futures down 16 cents, or 1%, at $15.68 per ounce.
Copper futures up 1 cent, or 0.4%, at $2.97 per pound.