World Economy

Gold Surges to 1-Year High

Gold Surges to 1-Year HighGold Surges to 1-Year High

Gold surged nearly 4% on Thursday to its highest in a year as fears about financial instability, a lower dollar and US Treasury yields persuaded investors to seek refuge in the precious metal.

Traders said financial instability fears were fuelled by European bank shares slumping to multi-year lows, with concerns mounting over banks' profitability in a low-growth and low-interest rate environment, Yahoo reported.

Spot gold jumped as much as 3.6% to $1,240.90 an ounce, its highest since February 2015, and was up 3% at $1,233.70. It is on track for its biggest daily rise since Dec. 1, 2014.

"We have a good explanation for gold's rally; it is to do with worries about the US economy and the rest of the world," Macquarie analyst Matthew Turner said.

"Investors are concerned that central banks' solution (is) negative interest rates or at least not raising rates—and that is gold friendly. The key risk to gold is that the US economy manages to put in a good performance, like it did last year."

Cautious comments from the head of the US Federal Reserve were taken to mean no near-term interest rate hikes. A slower pace of rate rises keeps down the opportunity cost of holding gold.

Longer-term US debt rallied as investors wagered that the Fed would either be unable to tighten at even a gradual pace, or that if it does increase rates that would only hasten the arrival of recession and deflation.

Gold option volatility surged to the highest in more than a year as investors have placed new bullish bets that prices will extend their recent rally.

London-based ETF Securities said its inflows into gold-backed ETFs last week were the highest since August at $108.5 million. On Tuesday, it received its highest ever one-day net inflow of $345 million.

Gold prices are still down 34% since hitting a peak of more than $1,800 a troy ounce in 2011.

Silver rose 1.9% to $15.60 an ounce, its highest since November 2015.

Spot platinum climbed 1.2% to $938.49 while palladium rose 0.1% to $522.50.