US President Donald Trump’s threat to impose new tariffs on China has helped gold prices climb by more than one per cent but bullion was on track for its worst week since mid-March.

Spot gold rose 0.9 per cent to $US1,695.21 per ounce.

US gold futures settled 0.4 per cent higher at $US1,700.90.

“We saw some weakness in the US equities markets … It seemed Trump was hinting at a resurgence of the trade war,” said Phil Streible, chief market strategist at Blue Line Futures in Chicago.

“That being said, a lot of investors liquidated various asset classes that might be affected by that and went back into safety, specifically gold.”

Trump said on Thursday his trade deal with China was now of secondary importance to the coronavirus pandemic and he threatened new tariffs on Beijing, as his administration crafted retaliatory measures over the outbreak.

US stocks fell on Trump’s warning, and as Apple and Amazon became the latest companies to warn of more pain in the future.

Considered a safe store of value during economic or political turmoil, gold was, however, on track to post a more than 1 per cent decline for the week as more economies eased restrictions and as investors covered losses in wider markets.

South Africa took its first steps on Friday towards rolling back one of the world’s strictest COVID-19 lockdowns, a day after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to set out a plan next week on how Britain might start gradually returning to normal life.

“However, gold’s narrative has not changed much. We’re in for a gloomy run of economic data over the next few months and central banks will continue to ease, including the US Federal Reserve, which opens up gold to go higher,” said Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at financial services firm AxiCorp.

New data shows US manufacturing activity plunged to an 11-year low in April as the novel coronavirus wreaked havoc on supply chains, supporting analysts’ views the economy was sinking deeper into recession.

Gold tends to benefit from widespread stimulus as it is often seen as a hedge against inflation and currency debasement.

Palladium slipped 3.3 per cent to $US1,895.19 per ounce, on track for its fifth straight weekly decline.

Platinum shed 1.5 per cent to $US760.59 per ounce and silver was down 1.1 per cent at $US14.86.

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