Gold makes headway above $1,500 on path to best year since 2010

Golden Bridge on Ba Na Hills, Danang, Vietnam. Stock image.

Gold rose for a fourth straight session, topping $1,500 an ounce and on course for its best annual gain since 2010.

The metal touched a seven-week high as investors positioned for 2020, with post-Christmas gains coming even as global equities inched higher and US-China trade concerns eased.

The break-through $1,500 in the face of new highs in US stocks, a rebound in U.S. Treasury yields and a strong dollar “leads to an assumption that bulls will buy in the New Year, so the market is trying to position ahead of time,” said Tai Wong, the head of metals derivatives trading at BMO Capital Markets. “It has momentum that is a little mysterious and no one wants to stand in the way.”

The climb comes amid a focus on whether the Federal Reserve’s rate-cutting pause will hold next year following three reductions in 2019.

“Without a dovish Fed pivot, it’s unlikely gold will make explosive gains, but it does appear the market is trying to carve out a new higher trading range,” Stephen Innes, chief Asia market strategist at AxiTrader, said in a note. That current trend “is a very favorable sign for gold bulls,” he said.

Gold is up about 18% this year as investors weigh the benefit of havens amid the to-and-fro of the U.S.-China trade war and a run of central-bank easing. The latest tick higher came even as President Donald Trump said Tuesday a deal with Beijing is “done.”

Spot bullion peaked at $1,557.11 in early September

“Caution needs to be exercised as the bullion markets could be extremely volatile, given the market’s low liquidity profile, especially to the downside as trade news remains positive and equity markets still scaling new heights,” Innes said.

Spot gold advanced 0.7% to $1,510.22 an ounce at 1:36 p.m. in New York, after touching $1,512.68, the highest since Nov. 4. Spot silver climbed 0.8% and platinum gained 1%. Palladium was also higher.

In the futures market, gold for February delivery rose 0.6% to settle at $1,514.40 on the Comex.

Spot bullion peaked at $1,557.11 in early September, the highest price in more than six years. Global holdings in gold-backed exchange-traded funds have also expanded in 2019.

Heading into the new year, there are mixed views on gold’s prospects. Earlier this month, JPMorgan Chase & Co. advised betting on the commodity to slide as the global economy gathers momentum. Among the bulls, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and UBS Group AG see prices climbing to $1,600.

Other precious metals have also fared well. Palladium touched a record $2,000.35 an ounce last week, and is up 50% this year. Platinum has gained 20% in 2019.

(By Ranjeetha Pakiam and Yvonne Yue Li)

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