Gold prices have climbed to a six and a half month peak, moving closer to the key $US1,300 an ounce level, as concerns about economic slowdown gripped global markets and fuelled demand for safe-haven bullion.
Spot gold gained 0.6 per cent overnight to $US1,291.76 per ounce, having earlier touched $US1,292.90, its highest since June 15.
US gold futures settled up 0.8 per cent at $US1,294.80 per ounce.
‘Gold is overbought on most measures and needs to consolidate but with the speculative long still building, the market will be looking for $US1,300 sooner than expected,’ Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen said.
‘If the fourth-quarter theme of lower dollar, stocks and yields carries on, gold is likely to break higher and set its sight on the previous high around $US1,380.’
A warning by Apple Inc on revenue rocked financial markets on Thursday amid the backdrop of worries over slowing global economic and corporate growth.
Gold is traditionally considered a safe investment during times of uncertainty, and weakness in the US dollar has added to demand for the precious metal by making it cheaper for holders of other currencies.
Gold denominated in sterling peaked at 1,031.89 pounds an ounce during the day, its highest since September 8, 2017, while in euro terms it rose to 1,137.47 euros, the highest since June 9, 2017.
‘The performance of gold in other currencies than the US dollar is driven by the performance of these currencies versus the dollar,’ said Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke.
‘We see the gold market in a longer-term recovery, driven by a combination of normalisation of market sentiment, a weakening US dollar and returning investment demand.’
Reflective of increased interest in bullion, holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose to 795.31 tonnes, the highest since early August.
‘Recent market volatility has confirmed that gold remains a safe-haven asset and the yellow metal helps to reduce volatility in a portfolio,’ said Giovanni Staunovo, an analyst at UBS.
‘Gold prices have behaved as you would expect during the recent period of uncertainty, rising as expectations of Fed tightening next year have been cut sharply and equities have sold off.’
Gold briefly pared some gains earlier in the session after data showed US private payrolls increased by the most in nearly two years in December.
However, prices recovered as the dollar fell after separate data from the Institute for Supply Management showed the US manufacturing activity index at its lowest since November 2016.
Among other precious metals, palladium gained 0.6 per cent to $US1,262.70 per ounce, while platinum rose 0.4 per cent to $US797.20 per ounce.
Silver rose 1.2 per cent to $US15.70 an ounce, after rising to its highest since July 17.