Gold futures on the COMEX traded above $1,800/oz on Thursday as bad economic news continues to mount and market sentiment turns.
On Thursday, the S&P/TSX Composite index fell nearly three percent. The S&P/ASX 200 was off 3.51%.
Markets worry that Europe could pull the world economy down due to a spreading euro-zone fiscal crisis.
On Wednesday the United States Department of Labor released its unemployment insurance weekly claims report. The report showed that claims were above the four-week moving average of 400K, higher than analysts had estimated, and revealing a bleaker U.S. jobs picture.
"In the week ending August 13, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 408,000, an increase of 9,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 399,000. The 4-week moving average was 402,500, a decrease of 3,500 from the previous week's revised average of 406,000," said the department on its website.