Gold extended a rally to hit the highest level in more than seven years on concern that the coronavirus pandemic will have a devastating effect on the global economy, hammering corporate earnings while supercharging demand for havens.
Bullion has soared as the outbreak tipped economies into recession and spurred central banks and governments to launch unprecedented stimulus. Since getting caught up in a wave of forced selling last month as equities sank, gold has staged a powerful recovery. That means futures are now approaching $1,800 an ounce after trading in the $1,400s less than four weeks ago.
Gold traded on the Comex in New York is up 17% this year, less than 10% below the record set in 2011. Banks including UBS Group AG have boosted price targets for the metal, making the case that easier monetary policy, other stimulus, and lower real interest rates will support gains. As earnings season kicks off in earnest this week, investors will be looking to get a better sense of how bad the hit to profits has been and how this quarter will shape up.
Futures climbed as much as 1.1% to $1,779.90 an ounce on the Comex, the highest since October 2012, and traded at $1,778.50 at 10:00 a.m. in Singapore. Spot gold was more than $50 cheaper at $1,725.03 an ounce, with the wide spread a feature of trading in recent weeks.
Worldwide holdings in the bullion-backed exchange-traded funds have ballooned to a record on rising demand. On Monday, volumes in SPDR Gold Shares , the largest such fund, surged above 1,000 tons to reach the highest since mid-2013.
Gold’s latest upswing has come even as the pace of coronavirus infections has slowed in some of the hardest-hit economies, with the focus shifting toward how lockdowns can be eased. President Donald Trump said he has “total” authority to order states to relax social distancing and reopen their economies.