Gold price hits record high as US dollar sinks

Gold is still “red hot”. Image: Polyus.

Gold continued its upward climb on Monday and made history by touching record prices as worries over the coronavirus pandemic and intensifying US-China tensions weighed on investor sentiment.

Spot gold surged 2.0% to $1,936.81 per ounce by 3:15 p.m. EDT. Earlier in the day, the spot price set an all-time high by trading at $1,945.10 per ounce, eclipsing the previous record high set in September 2011.

Gold futures for December delivery, now the most actively traded contract, rose 1.9% to $1,962.40 per ounce on the Comex in New York.

So far this year, bullion has risen by over 20% on the back of growing economic and geopolitical concerns around the globe

Bullion’s latest surge came as a gauge of the US currency sank to its lowest in more than a year, the latest in a long line of bullish factors — including negative real rates and bets on the Federal Reserve to keep policy accommodative when it meets this week — that are pushing prices ever higher.

“Gold is the clear beneficiary of safe haven demand,” Stephen Innes, chief global markets strategist at AxiCorp, said in a research note.

So far this year, bullion has risen by over 20% on the back of growing economic and geopolitical concerns around the globe — and the record run may not be over yet.

Analysts at UBS expect gold to reach $2,000 before the end of the year. Some in the market suggest the haven could rise even beyond that.

Gold is in “perfect condition to move higher,” ANZ commodity strategist Soni Kumari told Reuters, as central banks push for liquidity amid the pandemic.

“Further support is also coming from falling yields, weaker dollar and geopolitical tensions between the US and China. The safe-haven demand (for gold) has been rising while there is none for USD anymore.”

Soni Kumari, ANZ commodity strategist

Meanwhile, covid-19 cases surged to over 16.13 million globally, driving expectations for more stimulus to stem the economic blow.

“As long as the (virus) situation gets worse, the market is discounting more stimulus for a longer period of time and in bigger quantities,” Edward Meir, analyst at ED&F Man Capital Markets, told Reuters.

Nascent signs of gold’s record-breaking run began to show in mid-2019, when the Fed signaled a readiness to cut interest rates as uncertainty — primarily about the impact of trade wars — clouded its outlook.

The rally gathered pace in early 2020 as geopolitical tensions rose and the coronavirus outbreak hurt growth worldwide, pushing governments and central banks to unleash vast amounts of stimulus, and sending real rates slumping further into negative territory.

“Strong gains are inevitable as we enter a period much like the post-GFC environment, where gold prices soared to record levels as a result of copious amounts of Fed money being pumped into the financial system,” Gavin Wendt, senior resource analyst at MineLife Pty told Bloomberg.

“A weak dollar and negative real rates are providing further impetus. Gold may consolidate before setting its sights on $2,000 and above in coming weeks.”

(With files from Bloomberg and Reuters)

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