Gold prices headed lower for a second straight session Thursday, pulling back from the more-than-six year highs seen earlier this week, as China calmed some fears over trade tensions, prompting gains in the stock market and dulling haven demand for the yellow metal.

Geopolitical worries were soothed after a spokesman for China’s commerce ministry said Thursday that Beijing wasn’t planning to immediately respond to the latest round of U.S. tariffs.

“The perceived shift in trade conditions is…seen from confirmation that talks are actually taking place behind-the-scenes and that shifted a safe-haven condition in gold from positive to negative,” said analysts at Zaner Metals, in a daily note.

Gold for December delivery

GCZ19, -0.81%

 was off $11.80, or 0.8%, at $1,537.30 an ounce. December silver

SIZ19, -0.87%,

which is the most-active contract, rose 15.6 cents, or 0.9%, to $18.30 an ounce.

“Silver has continued to play catch-up with gold and the ratio now stands at 83 as silver aims for $19,” said Rhona O’Connell, head of market analysis, EMEA and Asia regions at INTL FCStone. That means that 83 ounces of silver is equivalent in value to one ounce of gold.

Gold, meanwhile, has jumped around 6.9% so far in August, driven by fears surrounding an escalating U.S.-China trade war, which has seen U.S. Treasury yields fall toward or below all-time lows and maintained pressure on global yields, where a large chunk of debt carries negative interest rates.

The comments from China’s commerce ministry weren’t likely to put trade-war worries to bed.

“While China’s signals are encouraging in that they keep negotiations on the table, they are not a game changer,” wrote analysts at XM, in a note. “We’ve seen countless rounds of talks, and really nothing to show for it. In fact, China may be even less likely to make real compromises after the latest escalation, as Beijing doesn’t want to lose face by caving to Washington’s pressure.”

In other metals trade, October platinum

PLV19, +1.80%

 rose 1.8% to $925.20 an ounce, while December palladium

PAZ19, +0.79%

 was up 0.8% at $1,473.70 an ounce. December copper rose 0.7% to $2.582 a pound.

“Clearly the action in October platinum suggests the metal is back in vogue and may be seen as the current leadership market within the precious metals complex,” the Zaner analysts wrote. “While the headlines continue to be mostly devoid of news on the status of South African wage talks, the trade might be anticipating a strike following some unions demanding wage increases of 47%.”

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2019-08-29