SINGAPORE: Gold rose to the highest in more than seven years after the Federal Reserve said stocks and asset prices could suffer a significant hit from coronavirus, and warned the process of economic recovery may stretch through until the end of next year.
Palladium surged more than US$100 in 20 minutes.
Commercial real estate could be among the hardest-hit industries should the health crisis deepen, the US central bank said in its twice-yearly financial stability report Friday.
Separately, Chairman Jerome Powell said in an interview with CBS that a full recovery of the US economy could drag through 2021 and depends on the delivery of a vaccine.
Bullion has surged 16% this year as the spread of the virus curbed economic growth, roiled markets, and prompted vast amounts of stimulus to be unleashed by governments and central banks.
Further bolstering the case for the metal has been recent speculation US interest rates could go negative, while holdings in gold-backed exchange-traded funds are at a record.
Spot gold climbed as much as 1.2% to US$1,764.73 an ounce, the highest since October 2012, and traded at US$1,763.58 at 6.44am in London.
“Financial markets can best be described as factoring in the best-case scenario, with economic stimulus leading to a rapid recovery,” said Gavin Wendt, senior resource analyst at MineLife Pty.
“The reality is likely to be quite different and there is the prospect that no vaccine will be developed. The recovery is probably set to be more problematic than the optimists think, with gold set to benefit from the enormous boost to money supply that is going to ensue.”
Monday’s gain in gold comes after data released Friday underscored how hard virus-related shutdowns have hit the world’s largest economy.
US retail sales and factory output registered the steepest declines on record in April.
Powell is due to appear along with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday.
Fed officials including Powell have consistently batted the idea of negative interest rates away, and he did so again on Sunday, saying that it’s probably not an appropriate or useful policy for the US, according to a transcript of the full interview.
In other precious metals, silver climbed as much as 4% and platinum advanced 3.5%.
Palladium jumped as much as 8.3%, the most since March 25, before trading 4.3% higher at US$1,962.41.
The surge comes even after MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC said last week demand may drop 16% this year, the most in almost two decades. The metal, alongside platinum, has found some recent support from operational curbs in South Africa.
“Palladium is seeing strength on supply concerns due to the virus-related reduction in mining activities,” said Gnanasekar Thiagarajan, director at Commtrendz Risk Management Services Pvt. “During May-June output is expected to be lower.”