Gold approaches record as silver hits six-year high

Precious metals are soaring to multi-year highs on the back of persistent concerns over the coronavirus and the outlook for further economic stimulus worldwide.

Gold futures surged to an almost nine-year peak and silver touched the highest since 2014 after Hong Kong reported additional cases of the virus and new infections in the Australian state of Victoria surged, fueling demand for haven assets.

European Union leaders agreed on an unprecedented stimulus package to pull their economies out of a virus-induced recession. Silver, used in manufactured products ranging from solar panels to electronics, is getting an added boost from supply concerns and bets on a rebound in industrial demand.

The two metals are the top performers in the Bloomberg Commodity Index this year as investors clamor for insurance against further economic fallout from the virus. Low interest rates amid easy monetary policies have also bolstered the appeal of the non-interest-bearing assets. The jump in demand has sent holdings in exchange-traded funds backed by the metals to all-time highs.

“For gold it’s the same old story: Real rates continue to grind lower and we are reaching levels close to the global financial crisis,” Daniel Ghali, TD Securities commodities strategist, said by telephone. “We’ve seen that silver has been increasingly trading as an industrial metal. We think the marginal unit of demand for silver is coming from the industrial metal side.”

Gold futures for August delivery rose 1.5% to settle at $1,843.90 an ounce at 1:30 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the highest closing price for a most-active contract since September 2011. Gold futures are less than $100 away from the all-time high of $1,923.70 set that year.

Silver for September delivery jumped 6.8% to settle at $21.557, the highest since March 2014. Other precious metals also advanced on Tuesday, with palladium futures gaining 3.7% on the New York Mercantile Exchange and platinum climbing 7.1%, the most since April.

Even after recent gains, there’s a long list of banks and traders predicting silver will keep rising as investors continue to pile in. Citigroup Inc. said in a report this week that it sees prices rising to $25 in the next six to 12 months, with the potential for $30 based on the bank’s bull case.

“Silver is now leading the charge,” said Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at AxiCorp Ltd. The metal is following the same trajectory as during the global financial crisis, he said. Back then, prices dropped during the worst of the crisis before rallying to fresh records near $50 by 2011.

Credit: Bloomberg

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