Investors rushed back to gold this week, spurred by global economic uncertainty. Silver also made sizable gains.
The gold price made impressive gains this week, soaring 5 percent Thursday to reach $1,260.60 per ounce. That’s its highest price in a year, and its largest daily gain in seven years.
Most market watchers believe that generalized concern about the global economy spurred the metal’s impressive jump — as Afshin Nabavi, head of trading with MKS (Switzerland), quipped Thursday, investors’ worries were being driven by “everything under the sun.” That said, a slew of more specific factors have been identified as well, including a weaker US dollar, a rout in equities across the globe and poor oil prices.
Whatever the specific catalysts behind gold’s Thursday surge, it’s clear at this point that investors are beginning to think of the metal as a safe haven once again. Of course, whether they continue to do so remains to be seen, and expert opinions differ. As of 12:00 p.m. EST on Friday, the yellow metal was changing hands at $1,236.40, and was up just over 16.5 percent year-to-date.
Along with gold, the price of silver also soared this week, rising to a high point of $15.88 per ounce on Thursday. Like gold, it was trading lower on Friday, sitting at $13.72 as of 1:59 p.m. EST. Year-to-date the white metal is up over 13 percent, and while that’s a little less than gold’s year-to-date rise, some analysts believe that it may ultimately outperform gold this year.
On the base metals side, copper had a much less exciting week. While three-month copper on the LME closed Friday up 1.18 percent, at $4,500 per MT, that’s much less dramatic than the gains seen from gold and silver. And according to VTB Capital analyst Wiktor Bielski, copper’s future is uncertain.
“In the short term, the weaker dollar is helping copper,” he told Reuters on Thursday. “But there are a lot of uncertainties, from what’s happening in China to the fact that everybody thinks the Fed made a big mistake in December when it raised rates and what it will do now.”
Finally, oil prices leaped on Friday after news hit that the United Arab Emirates’ energy minister has said that OPEC is willing to cooperate on an output cut. Traders are understandably skeptical about that statement — as Reuters states in another article, Venezuela and Russia “tried in vain earlier in the week to stir Saudi Arabia and other major producers into agreeing to output cuts.”
So far, however, optimism seems to be ruling the day. As of 1:09 p.m. EST, US crude was up 12 percent, trading at $29.46 per barrel, just down from its Friday high of $29.56. Meanwhile, Brent crude was up $3, at $33.96; it was below $30 as recently as Thursday.
Securities Disclosure: I, Charlotte McLeod, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
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