Gold prices hit record highs as dollar slips further

Gold prices hit record highs as dollar slips further

Tokyo: Gold rose to hover just below record highs on Wednesday as the dollar extended losses to a fresh 14-month low against a basket of currencies, with investors taking more risks on growing optimism about the global economy.

Spot gold inched up 0.3% to $1,066.15 per ounce, approaching an all-time high of $1,068.30 an ounce hit on Tuesday. Gold has rallied 12% since the beginning of September.

Most-active December gold futures also edged up to $1,067.7, a rise of 0.3% from the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange and just below a record high of $1,069.7 reached on Tuesday.

“Gold’s still on a strong momentum but I think market players will be cautious about entering into the gold market now," said Adrian Koh, an analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore.

“The key is still the dollar’s movement and if it continues to head lower then there’s more room for gold to make new highs," he said.

The dollar index fell below 75.700 to its lowest since August 2008, while the euro climbed to a fresh 14-month high of $1.4888 as investors bet on higher-yielding currencies and commodities on growing optimism about the global economy.

Asian stocks were generally higher but traders were cautiously awaiting earnings reports from key US companies later in the week for clues to the state of the economy.

“Many players are sidelined, but those who can still buy at these levels are preventing the market from easing," said Yuichi Ikemizu, Tokyo branch manager for Standard Bank. He said there were two-way flows on the physical side, with sellers being met by some purchasing interest for Indian religious festivals.

More gold scrap entered the physical market on Tuesday as bullion hovered near all-time highs, while last-minute purchases by Indian consumers ahead of the festivals kept premiums steady in Asia.

Some have expressed concern about the weakness of physical demand, which together with investment demand has been a major pillar driving gold prices higher over the past few years.

Paul Walker, chief executive at metals consultancy GFMS, cast doubt on the sustainability of current levels of gold prices.

“My concern is that this market is becoming increasingly unidimensional," Walker said at a seminar in Tokyo on Tuesday. “One pillar, jewellery demand, has become eroded."

Reflecting a cautious investor stance, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, said its holdings stood at 1,109.314 tonnes as of 13 October, unchanged from the previous business day.

But the world’s largest silver-backed exchange-traded fund, iShares Silver Trust, said its bullion holdings rose 18.35 tonnes or 0.2% from the previous day to 8,612.57 tonnes on Tuesday.

Gold’s rally pulled other precious metals higher on Tuesday. Silver rose above $18 an ounce for the first time since July 2008, to $18.01. Silver was at $17.86 on Wednesday. Platinum hit a 13-month high of $1,361.50 on Tuesday and stood at $1,356.50 on Wednesday.