[This is sort of good for South Africa and the super-rich who monopolised gold. Jan]
Gold rallied above $1 700 an ounce as a global rush into havens intensified, with the upswing driven by turmoil in the oil market, the spread of the coronavirus, sinking equities, and expectations of easier monetary policy as recession risks loom ever larger.
The metal hit the highest since 2012 as Brent collapsed, futures on the S&P 500 Index sank, and the entire Treasury yield curve dipped below 1% for the first time. Investors have already driven holdings in bullion-backed exchange-traded funds to a record as the coronavirus hurt the outlook for growth.
The traditional haven has sprinted higher this year, following an 18% surge in 2019, as the global health crisis expanded and central banks cut interest rates to try and stem the damage. Gold has immunity to the virus, according to Goldman Sachs Group, which dubbed the metal as the currency of last resort and predicted that prices could top $1 800 an ounce.
“There’s a clear rush to safe-haven assets at the moment and gold’s a major beneficiary,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney. Markets are concerned that “we could see a more ugly situation before things get better, which of course is good news for gold,” he said.
Spot gold surged as much as 1.8% to $1 703.39 an ounce, the highest since December 2012, and traded at $1 697.64 at 10:41 a.m. in Singapore. The gains came as 10-year US Treasury yields plunged below 0.5% to a record low amid the stampede for safer assets.
The US and Europe now face the “distinct possibility” of technical recessions in the first half as the outbreak hurts demand and supply, and drives investors to safe havens, according to Pacific Investment Management’s Joachim Fels. Over the weekend, Italy locked down a swathe of the nation.
Even after the Federal Reserve implemented an emergency rate cut last week, there are forecasts for more easing, which would benefit non-interest bearing gold. In addition, investors will track this week’s scheduled policy meeting of the European Central Bank.
The surge in bullion prices is boosting miners’ shares. Newcrest Mining, Australia’s largest gold producer, rose more than 6% in Sydney, while Northern Star Resources also climbed. The gains came as broader equity benchmarks saw significant declines.
Among other main precious metals, silver lost 0.9%, platinum fell 1.2% and palladium dropped 2.9%.