Gold close to 4-week high on weaker dollar, surging demand

Gold prices pushed higher Wednesday hitting an almost four-week high thanks to a weaker dollar and increased physical demand from major consumers China and India.

The spot price for the precious metal rose to its highest since Dec. 9 at $1,167.83 an ounce and was recently up 0.2% at $1,164.60 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, on track for its second straight day of gains. US gold futures climbed $3.80 to $1,165.90 an ounce.

Analysts expect that uncertainties, such as Donald Trump’s first few months as President of the US and upcoming elections in some European countries will boost gold prices as investors seek safe-havens.

The price recovery comes ahead of a 2pm ET release of minutes from the Federal Reserve’s December policy-setting meeting, which could deliver more hints on what to expect this year in terms of monetary policy.  At the meeting, officials said they would hike interest rates by a further 0.75 percentage point over the course of 2017.

Higher interest rates are not good for gold, as the precious metal doesn’t bear interest, unlike other investment instruments.

Looking ahead, analysts including Ole Hansen, chief commodity strategist at Saxo Bank, believe the approaching Chinese New Year holiday celebration will likely result in some physical restocking of metal in both China and India, the world’s top consumers.

"Physical demand from China and India is quite strong at the moment," NAB analyst Vyanne Lai told Reuters Wednesday. "With the upcoming Chinese New Year there is a seasonally strong period for jewellery and in India the shortage of cash has prompted some safe-haven buying from Indian consumers as a source of wealth."

Experts also expect that uncertainties, such as Donald Trump’s first few months as President of the US and upcoming elections in some European countries such as France and Germany, could boost gold prices as investors seek safe-havens.