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Shares drop as gold soars, oil steadies

Shares drop as gold soars, oil steadies

Asia Pacific share markets are under pressure in morning trading despite positive overnight leads. A soaring gold price and further gains for bonds point to rising risk aversion. China services data added to concerns, but a higher metals prices and a stronger trade balance in May sees the Australia 200 index outperforming the region to record gains.

Gold is testing key resistance at $1,430 after a circa 2.5% overnight gain. This level is the five-year high and any push higher could attract technical buying, and potentially a move towards $1,600. Flattening global bond curves are supporting the gold gains, and the shift towards safe havens suggests investor sentiment is deteriorating. A strengthening Japanese yen adds to the warning signals for growth assets.

The China Caixin services and composite PMIs both fell in June. Some traders see this as confirmation that the trade dispute is weighing on the economy, and is adding to general worry about the economic outlook.

Gains for crude oil after a 4%+ plunge overnight is one of the session positives. The other is a lift in Australian shares, led by miners. Gold stock gains are up 2% on average, but the support for materials stocks is broad based. Australia’s trade balance in May was AUD $5,745 million, above the previous month and analysts’ forecasts. The importance of iron ore prices and volumes to Australian exports mean major players like BHP, Rio and Fortescue are in investors’ sights.

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