Gold dips on strong equities; trade jitters, U.S. unrest limit lossesGold dips on strong equities; trade jitters, U.S. unrest limit losses
An employee takes granules of 99.99 percent pure gold at the Krastsvetmet non-ferrous metals plant in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk

By K. Sathya Narayanan

(Reuters) – Gold eased on Tuesday, weighed down by gains in stock markets, but concerns over civil unrest in U.S. cities and growing tensions between Washington and Beijing limited the decline.

Spot gold was down 0.1% at $1,738.24 per ounce by 1152 GMT, having gained as much as 1% on Monday to hit its highest since May 21. U.S. gold futures were steady at $1,750.90.

“The U.S.-China tensions support (gold) because of the safe-haven demand but there are also concerns about a second wave of the coronavirus,” Bank of China International analyst Xiao Fu said, adding investors were also worried about unrest in U.S. cities and whether it would come under control.

“Gold is now range bound … The equity market rally has been capping further gains in gold,” Fu added.

World stocks climbed towards three-month highs as the global coronavirus recovery effort won out over the trade tensions and the unrest in the United States.

Concerns about deteriorating Sino-U.S. relations increased after reports of an order from China’s government to halt U.S. soybean purchases.

Bullion, which is widely viewed as a safe-haven investment during times of political and financial uncertainty, got further support after U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to use the military to halt the violent protests in U.S. cities.

Meanwhile, in a sign that the worst of the economic downturn from the coronavirus pandemic might be over, U.S. manufacturing activity edged up from an 11-year low, and China’s factory activity unexpectedly returned to growth in May.

Reflecting investor sentiment, holdings in the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, rose 0.5% to 1,128.40 tonnes on Monday, the highest in seven years.

Elsewhere, palladium climbed 0.4% to $1,968.73 per ounce, while platinum dipped 0.3% to $844.91. Silver was 0.3% lower at $18.21.

(Reporting by K. Sathya Narayanan in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Potter and Louise Heavens)