Devika Krishna Kumar and Jan Harvey
(Australian Associated Press)
REUTERS – Gold prices rose one per cent to a near 3-week high on Tuesday as early gains in stocks and other assets perceived as risky gave up gains and investors fled to save-haven bullion.
Platinum and palladium both jumped by more than 4 per cent as investors scrambled for position as the new year got under way.
The themes of late 2016 appeared to be persisting in the wider markets, with equities rising while the dollar index touched a 14-year high boosted by strong economic data. As the session progressed, the dollar and equities pared gains, supporting gold prices.
Spot gold was up 0.6 per cent at $US1,159.06 an ounce by 1917 GMT(0617 AEDT), while U.S. gold futures for February delivery ended the session up 0.9 per cent at $US1,162.
The metal fell sharply in the wake of Donald Trump’s victory in November’s U.S. presidential election, sliding by more than 12 per cent in the fourth quarter.
Trump’s victory boosted the dollar and sparked a sharp rally in bond yields, lifting the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding gold and blunting investors’ appetite for the metal.
However, Trump could also boost investor interest in the precious metal, some market participants said.
“We are not going to dismiss the precious metal completely considering we still have the Trump card in the pack,” said Mihir Kapadia, CEO and Founder of Sun Global Investments.
“At a time when even his tweets are destabilising stocks, any erratic policy proposals, let alone mismanaged implementation, can potentially trigger market uncertainty and increase the investors’ interest in gold.”
Indications from the U.S. Federal Reserve that it would press ahead with further interest rate rises this year are also buoying the dollar and pressuring gold.
A strong start to 2016 meant that gold still managed to end last year with its first annual gain since 2012, rising by 8.5 per cent.
Spot platinum was up 4 per cent at $US935.24`per ounce after rising by more than 5 per cent. Meanwhile, sister metal palladium was up 4.5 per cent to $US709 after rising by about 5 per cent.
“The repositioning in the futures market in the dying weeks of last year saw in platinum a rebuilding in the gross short position, and at the same time long positioning remaining fairly steady,” said Mitsubishi analyst Jonathan Butler.
“Right now I think this is some short-covering driving prices higher. “It’s the start of the year, and there are some funds rebalancing their portfolios. There might be some niche funds that are interested in these metals, so that is part of the mix as well.”
Palladium was the best-performing precious metal last year, with the price rising 20 per cent for its biggest annual gain in six years. Platinum lagged gains in the wider complex, however, ending 2016 only 1 per cent higher.
Both metals are widely used in autocatalyst manufacturing, and are more exposed than gold to the economic cycle.
Spot silver was up 2.23 per cent at $US16.29 per ounce.