Investing.com - China is the watchword for the gold market as Donald Trump's eagerness to strike a trade deal with Beijing holds precious metals in check.
The spot price and futures of bullion were little changed on Wednesday as traders awaited developments on negotiations in China led by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
The spot gold contract, reflective of trades in physical bullion, rose $3.11, or 0.2%, to $1,313.91 per ounce by 11:30 AM ET (16:30 GMT).
In futures trading, gold's benchmark April contract on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange rose $3.15, or 0.2%, to $1,317.15 per ounce.
Aside from the dollar, gold has become one of the safe-haven plays for investors seeking a hedge against the trade war.
In recent days, both the greenback and the precious metal have seen choppy moves as investors reacted to Trump's decision at first to forego a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping, then express his continued desire to strike a deal with China.
The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of other major currencies, rose 0.3% to 96.822.
Mnuchin said on Wednesday the talks with China were going well. Trump himself has no made no secret of how much he would want an agreement with Beijing, with Forbes reporting he might be ready to let slide the March 1 deadline he had for a deal before China faces additional tariffs on $200 billion worth of goods it exports to the U.S.
"Things are going well with China," the president told reporters at the White House on Tuesday. "China wants to make a deal very badly. I want it to be a real deal, not just a deal that makes (it) -- you know, cosmetically look good for a year. We have a chance to make a real deal with China.”
Gold futures hit highs above $1,300 for five-consecutive sessions through Jan. 31, peaking at $1,331.10, before profit-taking set it back.
Palladium remained the world's most valuable traded metal, with its spot price trading up $1.20, or 0.1%, at 1,404.30 after reaching $1,415.25 earlier.
Trades in other Comex metals as of 11:30 AM ET (16:30 GMT):
Palladium futures up $1.70, or 0.1%, at $1,377.10 per ounce.
Silver futures down 0.8 cent, or 0.05%, at $15.68 per ounce.
Platinum futures up 35 cents, or 0.04%, at $789.95 per ounce.
Copper futures down 0.5 cent, or 0.2%, at $2.77 per pound.