Gold Up as U.S.-Chinese Tensions Rise Over Hong Kong National Security Law

Commodities & Futures
© Reuters.  © Reuters.

By Gina Lee – Gold was up on Friday in Asia, boosted by rising U.S.-China tensions as China plans controversial national security laws in Hong Kong.

were up by 0.31% at $ 1,727.20 by 1:09 AM ET (6:09 AM GMT), gaining back losses from the previous session.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said in his annual report to the National People’s Congress, “We will establish sound legal systems and enforcement mechanisms for safeguarding national security in the two special administrative regions [Hong Kong and Macau], and see that the governments of the two regions fulfill their constitutional responsibilities.”

Reports surfaced a day before that China could table and pass the laws during the congress in response to often-violent pro-democracy protests that took place all over Hong Kong in the second part of 2019.

U.S. President Donald Trump threatened a “strong” U.S. reaction should the law be passed, and two Senators were preparing a bill imposing sanctions on entities charged with upholding the laws.

Small-scale protests took place in Hong Kong in reaction to the news, with calls for more protests materializing.

Investors turned to the safe-haven yellow metal as the U.S.-Chinese tensions climbed. Shares, which usually move inversely to gold, were down on Friday.

Li also said that China would not set an economic growth target for 2020, breaking years of tradition, due to the impacts of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, investors digested the news that an additional 2.438 million Americans claimed unemployment in the week ended May 16.

New York Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams (NYSE:) warned that the data is likely to become grimmer as the economic impact of COVID-19 becomes clearer, making it difficult to predict what a recovery would look like.

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