Gold prices held steady on Monday, close to its multiyear peak scaled last week, as investors weigh the surge in coronavirus cases in the US against tentative signs of economic improvement in some regions.
Spot gold rose 0.1% to $1,772.53 per ounce by 12:45 p.m. ET, still within sight of $1,800 an ounce — a level last seen at the end of 2011. US gold futures remain largely unchanged, trading at $1,781 per ounce.
“The uptick in coronavirus cases right now across most parts of the United States has got the markets on edge right now, supporting gold,” Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at RJO Futures, told Reuters.
“There’s been a flight to safety into gold since last week … but at the moment, traders are waiting to see how equities perform, and if equities do sell off later, gold should move higher,” he added.
Bullion is headed for its best quarter in four years as the number of confirmed covid-19 cases now exceed 10 million worldwide, with the spread of disease accelerating in major markets like the US, Brazil and India. Emerging covid-19 clusters around the world also indicate that the pandemic is far from over, aiding outlook for safe haven assets like gold.
So far this year, price of the yellow metal has gained 17% amid the unlimited quantitative easing led by the Federal Reserve to rejuvenate the economy. Investors have feverishly piled into gold-backed exchange-traded funds (ETFs), with global holdings continuously reaching new highs.
In a research note Monday, Macquarie Group strategists including Tom Price remain optimistic in their outlook for the precious metal:
“The macro backdrop continues to favor precious exposure: falling real rates, worldwide adoption of the rate cut cycle by central banks and, of course, universal anxiety about the virus.”
The biggest cap for the upside — according to analysts — is “perhaps the preference for cash on collapsing inflation expectations.”
Meanwhile, Citigroup has raised its three-month forecast for spot prices to $1,825, maintaining its “longstanding bullish bias” for 2021.
(With files from Bloomberg and Reuters)