Gold has risen, holding above $US1,600 per ounce, as worries over the new coronavirus and its impact on global growth boosted safe-haven demand, while palladium continued its record run driven by short supplies of the metal.
Spot gold was up 0.4 per cent to $US1,607.61 per ounce by 1406 EST on Wednesday (0606 AEDT on Thursday).
The session high was $US1,610.80, the highest price since January 8, when gold hit a nearly seven-year high.
US gold futures settled 0.5 per cent higher at $US1,611.80 an ounce.
“Gold is holding above the $US1,600 level, we went through pretty quick,” said Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at RJO Futures.
Questions about the level of impact of the virus were lending the metal ample support, he said.
China is struggling to get manufacturing back online after severe travel restrictions were imposed to contain the coronavirus.
Adding to concerns, Apple on Monday warned that its sales might fall because of slow ramp-ups in manufacturing facilities in China.
“The uncertainty regarding when the global supply chain will return to normal is likely to continue to squelch trader and investor risk appetite for at least the near term. That’s bullish for the precious metals markets,” Kitco Metals senior analyst Jim Wyckoff said in a note.
Reflecting positive investor sentiment toward bullion, holdings of the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, rose to their highest since November 11, 2016, on Tuesday.
Limiting gold’s advance were better-than-expected US housing starts data and stronger equity markets, lifted by signs of slowing coronavirus infections.
Federal Reserve policymakers were cautiously optimistic about their ability to hold interest rates steady this year, minutes of the central bank’s last policy meeting showed, even as they acknowledged new risks caused by the epidemic.
Palladium gained 1.5 per cent to $US2,675.64 an ounce after hitting a record high of $US2,841.54.
The autocatalyst metal gained 54 per cent in 2019 on supply shortages and will remain in a substantial deficit in 2020 as well, Anglo American Platinum said.
“What we are seeing is likely some commodity traders loading up on the metal in anticipation of China’s door reopening,” said Daniel Ghali, commodity strategist at TD Securities.
“Once the coronavirus impact on logistics and supply chains dissipates, we anticipate that demand from China for palladium is going to come back very quickly, which will further strengthen the metal’s demand.”
Silver rose 0.9 per cent to $US18.33 after hitting a more than one-month high, while platinum climbed 1.2 per cent to $US1,003.55.