Gold jumps over 2% early Monday, to begin the new year with a bang. The yellow metal hit an eight-week high above $1,900 an ounce, its highest point in over eight weeks, as the dollar slid to 2018 lows and prospects of tougher restrictions to combat a new variant of the coronavirus kept safe-haven bullion in demand.
The dollar tumbled to the lowest level in more than two years, further boosting the yellow metal, which had its best year in a decade in 2020 and its first monthly gain since July in December. Equities also rallied.
Front-month gold futures rose 0.6% last week to settle at $1,895.10 an ounce Thursday on Comex after the February contract edged up $1.70. Markets were closed Friday for New Year’s Day. Gold rallied $372 — or 24% — in 2020 because of uncertainty about the economy and the coronavirus pandemic. Bullion gained 6.4% in December. The February contract is currently up over $49 an ounce to $1,944.70 and the DG spot price is $1,941.10.
Prices also increased Monday amid a worsening coronavirus pandemic and as U.S. stimulus checks began arriving in Americans’ bank accounts.
Japan was considering a lockdown in Tokyo and the U.K. government was mulling tightening restrictions as cases of the virus mounted around the world. The virus has killed more than 1.84 million people worldwide and sickened about 85 million. About 24% of the cases — and 19% of the deaths — are in the U.S. The country has about 20.6 million cases, more than any other nation.
In economic news, a private survey released Monday showed Chinese manufacturing activity expanded in December, though at a slower pace than in November. The Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index was at 53.0, compared with 54.9 in November. A figure above 50 indicates economic expansion.
Investors are awaiting the key U.S. manufacturing data for December from the Institute for Supply Management on Tuesday and monthly U.S. unemployment data for December on Friday. November factory orders and the minutes of the last FOMC meeting are due Wednesday, with weekly initial jobless claims on Thursday.
A runoff election in Georgia for two Senate seats, which will indicate which party will be in control of the next U.S. Congress, takes place Tuesday. Congress is scheduled to confirm the results of the presidential election on Wednesday, despite challenges by some Republicans in both Houses which are seen as longshots.
Front-month silver futures gained 2% last week to settle at $26.41 an ounce on Comex, though the March contract slipped 0.6% Thursday. Silver surged 17% in December and 47% in 2020. The March contract is currently up over $1.25 an ounce to $27.69 and the DG spot price is $27.50.
Spot palladium increased 3.9% last week to $2,451.00 an ounce after rising 2.9% Thursday. It rallied 2% in December and 26% in 2020. The DG spot price is currently up over $13 an ounce to $2,472.00.
Spot platinum rose 4.2% last week to $1,073.50 an ounce, though it slipped 0.2% Thursday. The metal added 11% in December and 11% in 2020. Currently, the DG spot price for platinum is up over $50 an ounce to $1,128.10.
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