Gold hits 2-week high, platinum at record

Gold hits 2-week high, platinum at record

By Reuters

Singapore: Gold jumped to a two-week high on Monday on speculative buying driven by the prospect of further US interest rates cuts, while platinum hit record highs on supply concerns in South Africa — the world’s main producer.

Spot gold rose as high as $828.70 an ounce, the highest since 12 November, before dipping to $825.60/826.30 an ounce, still higher than $821.20/821.90 late in New York on Friday and within sight of a 28-year high of $845.40 hit earlier this month.

Gold has rebounded more than 7% since falling to its lowest level in nearly a month at $772.60 on 20 November, when weak stock markets encouraged investors to book profits from bullion’s multi-year highs.

“One has to suspect we’re going to look to test the highs again at $845 in the days ahead," said Darren Heathcote of Investec Australia in Sydney.

“The only caveat being should the stock markets turn down sharply again, I imagine gold will be sold again to cover margin calls."

Asian stocks bounced after four straight weeks of losses, with investors buyingbeaten-down banks as well as some of the region’s top exporters,encouraged by a robust start to the US holiday shopping period.

Tokyo’s Nikkei average added 1.31%, while MSCI’s measure of other Asia Pacific stocks jumped 2.73%, recovering from last week’s 4.7% drop — its fourth-straight weekly decline.

Dealers said gold was on track to retest $850, an all-time high hit in January 1980, as record-high crude oil lifts its role as a hedge against inflation, and the prospects of Federal Reserve rates cuts in December elevate its appeal as an alternative investment.

“Gold is a barometer for excess liquidity in a price-rising environment," said William Kwan, a dealer at Phillip Futures in Singapore. “Platinum is going up because of supply issues. I think we will take up $1,500," he said.

Platinum spiked to a record high of $1,486 an ounce before slipping to $1,479/1,484 an ounce, higher than $1,468/1,473 in New York on Friday as firmer oil and a bearish dollar also prompted investment funds to buy.

South Africa’s biggest miners’ union unveiled plans on Friday to down tools in a strike against mounting mine deaths, as Gold Fields, Harmony and Impala Platinum all reported more deaths.

More than 180 workers have been killed this year in rock-falls, explosions or have been buried underground during earth tremors in mines owned by some of the world’s biggest mining firms, in what the the union has termed a “genocide".

In currencies, the euro was steady at $1.4836 and within sight of the record peak of $1.4968 struck on Friday as investors kept up their bets that the US economy’s troubles will prompt further Fed interest rate cuts.