YORK/LONDON (Reuters) - Gold futures rose above $1,000 an ounce on Friday as
jittery investors turned to the yellow metal to preserve wealth amid a tumbling
Long-term inflation worries fanned by the massive U.S. economic stimulus package
signed into law by President Barack Obama this week has driven investors into
gold, which is perceived as the most likely asset to hold its value if the
dollar starts weakening.
"I think there's a little bit of panic out there. Equities are setting new lows
and gold is the place to run to. I don't think there's much more than that,"
said Robert MacIntosh, chief economist at Eaton Vance in Boston.
U.S. gold reached its highest level of the past seven months.
Gold futures for April delivery on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile
Exchange rose $17.70 to $994.20 an ounce at 10:32 a.m. EST. They rose to a
session high of $1,000.30, their highest level since July 16.
Spot gold jumped to $998.50, its strongest level since March 18. It was at
$991.95 an ounce, up 1.9 percent against $973.75 in New York late on Thursday.
The metal is poised to rise further, possibly targeting last March's all-time
high of $1,030.80 an ounce, analysts said.
"The rally we've seen in the last few days has been very much led by investment
demand," Barclays Capital analyst Suki Cooper said.
"Investors aren't looking at the normal drivers -- they are sidelining the
dollar strength, sidelining deflationary concerns and lower oil prices. They are
very much buying gold as a safe-haven asset," Cooper said. "There is potential
for us to breach the $1,000 level."
Saxo Bank senior manager Ole Hansen said the deteriorating macroeconomic picture
and inflows into exchange-traded funds were currently the main influences on the
gold price, now that the metal's usual relationship with the dollar had broken
More investment flowed into precious metals-backed ETFs on Thursday, with
figures released showing both the largest gold ETF and the biggest silver-backed
fund climbing to record levels.
New York's SPDR Gold Trust said its holdings rose nearly five tonnes to a record
1,028.98 tonnes on Thursday, while the iShares Silver Trust's silver holdings
climbed 18.4 tonnes to an all-time high of 7,892 tonnes.
Equity markets tumbled on Friday, with world stocks dropping to their weakest
levels since November. The U.S. Dow index hit a six-year low on Thursday.
Falling stocks boost the appeal of safe-haven assets like gold.
The precious metal's usual external drivers, oil and the dollar, exerted little
influence. Gold traditionally moves in the opposite direction to the U.S.
currency, as it can be used as a hedge against dollar weakness, and in line with
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