Gold heads for its third consecutive weekly gain amid optimism about an economic stimulus measure from the U.S., even as the yellow metal gave up part of its advance early Friday.
Futures settled at the highest level in almost six weeks on Thursday, just shy of the $1,900 an ounce threshold it left behind in November.
Front-month gold futures rose 1.7% Thursday to settle at $1,890.40 an ounce on Comex. The February contract advanced 2.5% in the first four days of the week. Gold is up more than $350 — or 24% — so far this year as investors have flocked to the metal because of uncertainty from the coronavirus pandemic and the economy. The February contract is currently up at $1,891.40 an ounce, while the DG spot price is $1,888.10.
Holdings in SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.2% Thursday to 1,167.82 metric tons, Reuters reported.
Congressional leaders are pushing to finalize a stimulus package worth about $900 billion and faced a deadline of Friday to prevent a lapse in federal funding. Wrangling has involved stimulus checks, aid to states and the power of the Federal Reserve. The package is designed to provide relief to the millions of Americans suffering from coronavirus-related lockdowns Stimulus measures are considered bullish for gold.
More negative economic news came Thursday, when the Labor Department reported weekly initial jobless claims unexpectedly rose to 885,000 in the week ended Dec. 12, the most since early September. Many states have reimposed coronavirus restrictions as U.S. cases have mounted.
Some market participants see a rosy future for the yellow metal. In a note, Goldman Sachs said, “Given rising inflation expectations, weakening dollar and lofty valuations in some risky assets, demand for safe-haven inflation hedges should remain supported next year, continuing to push gold towards our $2,300/toz target.”
The COVID-19 virus has killed more than 1.66 million people worldwide and sickened almost 74.9 million. About 23% of the cases — and 19% of the deaths — are in the U.S. The country has about 17.2 million cases, more than any other nation.
Vaccinations began in the U.S. this week after a Pfizer vaccine received emergency authorization last week from the Food and Drug Administration. A second vaccine — by Moderna — is likely to get the emergency authorization Friday after a panel of independent experts recommended its approval to the FDA. That would put a second vaccine in the U.S. market, potentially hastening the end of the pandemic.
In other news affecting markets, the Bank of Japan is expected to extend a stimulus package on Friday, while Brexit talks seemed to be at a standoff.
Front-month silver futures rose 4.5% Thursday to settle at $26.18 an ounce on Comex, and the March contract advanced 8.7% in the first four days of the week. The most active contract dropped 4.5% in November. The March contract is currently down slightly, $0.031 an ounce, to $26.150 and the DG spot price is flat at $26.04.
Spot palladium gained $2 Thursday to $2,349.00 an ounce and is up 0.6% so far this week. It advanced 8.3% in November. Currently, the DG spot price for palladium is down around $10 an ounce to $2,340.50.
Spot platinum increased 1.9% Thursday to $1,050.80 an ounce and is up 2.9% this week. It rose 14% in November. The DG spot price for platinum is currently off about $5.00 an ounce to $1,045.50.
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