Gold under pressure as dollar prevails in battle of the havens

Image by Javier Cabrio

Gold is showing signs of steadying after this week’s price rollercoaster but remains under pressure as haven-seeking investors turn to the U.S. dollar instead.

Prices were up slightly at $1,479 an ounce in lunchtime trade in New York , paring an earlier drop, while the dollar hit an 18-year high against a basket on currencies on concern there’ll be a global recession because of the pandemic.

Investors remain caught between the need to raise cash to cover losses in other assets and a hunt for havens as recession worries mount.

Fear-driven buying is still providing some support to gold, said Georgette Boele, a precious metal strategist at ABN Amro Bank NV. “This could dampen the downside in gold prices at the moment.”

Investors weighing the latest stimulus measures to counter the health crisis seem to be preferring the U.S. dollar as a haven, and rising sovereign bonds also reduce gold’s appeal.

After U.S. exchanges closed, the Senate cleared the second major bill responding to the coronavirus pandemic and White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the government might take equity positions as part of an aid package. The European Central Bank launched an extra emergency bond-buying program worth 750 billion euros ($811 billion).

“While stimulus measures/rate cuts — including the ECB emergency bond-buying program — are usually positive for gold, we think any support will be short-lived,” said Vivek Dhar, an analyst at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

“There is a clear preference for the U.S. dollar over gold as global market risks intensify, and that should pressure gold prices lower in the near term.”

(By Elena Mazneva and Ranjeetha Pakiam)

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