Gold surges to finish above US$1,300/ounce for the first time since November

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 August, 2017, 4:54am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 August, 2017, 4:54am

Gold futures closed above US$1,300 an ounce for the first time since November as the dollar dropped and speculation mounted that policy makers will be slow to raise US interest rates.

Futures for delivery in December rose 1.3 per cent to settle at US$1,315.30 on the Comex in New York. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index slipped 0.1 per cent. While gold has risen above US$1,300 in intraday trading this year, it had not managed to close above that threshold since November.

Bullion has rallied 14 per cent this year as investors bet the Fed will be hard-pressed to follow up with additional US interest-rate increases given lacklustre inflation. The dollar fell on Monday as traders weighed the damage from Tropical Storm Harvey in Houston, boosting demand for gold as an alternative asset.

Last week, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said prices are on track to hit US$1,400 an ounce by early next year on lower long-term US rates and a lack of progress by President Donald Trump in delivering his agenda.

“The Fed may be a little bit more cautious in their stance on raising interest rates for the remainder of the year,” Phil Streible, senior market strategist at RJO Futures in Chicago, said by phone. “There are a lot of uncertainties out there.”

Metals, he added, have a lot of “momentum behind them.”

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Investors waiting for clues about the Fed’s tightening path during the gathering last week in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, were disappointed. Monetary policy wasn’t a major focus, and when it was discussed the messages from the Fed and the European Central Bank stressed gradual approaches to unwinding emergency-era stimulus as growth picks up. Low rates are a boon to non-interest bearing precious metals.

“Traders are going to focus on the momentum which would primarily be driven by the dollar weakness,” Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets UK, said by email.

Hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio endorsed gold this month, recommending investors consider placing 5 per cent to 10 per cent of their assets in the commodity.

Dalio, who manages Bridgewater Associates, cited risks including the North Korean situation, as well as the possibility that Congress may fail to increase the US debt ceiling, leading to a technical default.