Physical buying from China drives gold rally, safe haven demand absent

Gold for December delivery traded up $37.30, or 2.3%, at $1,673.10 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange in early afternoon trade Monday, after climbing more than $40 earlier to touch an intraday high of $1,676.70.

Gold’s gains come amid strong buying during China’s Golden Week despite the fact that buyers have to contend with bullion that is $300/oz more expensive than last year. Traders reported that the price of gold has been moving up and down in sync with the S&P 500 in the last four sessions, while the safe-haven buying that spurred the metal’s three-year rally was largely absent.

MarketWatch quotes Ross Norman, chief executive officer at London-based bullion brokers Sharps Pixley: “Gold is remaining bid-up on not just [on] a slightly weaker U.S. dollar, but particularly buoyant physical demand amongst retail investors. Demand in China has been especially strong with the bars selling at more than a $3 premium over London prices.”

Reuters quotes Adam Klopfenstein, senior market strategist at futures broker MF Global: “Gold is rallying as a commodity instead of a flight-to-quality asset. Until that trend changes, you can get your head ripped off trying to play the other side of it.”

On Sunday MINING.com argued that gold has lost its safe haven status and that gold’s precipitous $300 drop in September could represent a fundamental market shift.

Other precious metals also benefited from a near 2% drop in the dollar index with silver up 3% at $32.11 an ounce on Monday. December palladium was up 4.8% or $27.30 to $613.15 an ounce, while January platinum rose $30.50, or 2%, to $1,523.80.

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