Gold futures climbed to a record in Tokyo as a weaker Japanese currency boosted the appeal of yen-based contracts and platinum jumped to the highest level in more than two years on gains in vehicle sales in the U.S.
Bullion for delivery in December rose as much as 1.2 percent to 5,000 yen per gram ($1,678 an ounce) on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange before trading at 4,995 yen by 2:21 p.m. local time. Platinum for the same month increased 2.7 percent to 5,130 yen per gram, the highest level for the most-active contract since May 17, 2010.
Toyota Motor Corp. and Ford Motor Co. led the four largest automakers by U.S. sales in reporting January gains that topped estimates, as buyers return to showrooms to begin a fourth consecutive year of growth. Industrywide light-vehicle sales in the U.S. increased 14 percent, according to researcher Autodata Corp. The yen touched 92.97 per dollar on Feb. 1, the weakest since May 2010. The currency fell 2.1 percent last week, losing for the 12th straight week.
“The yen’s weakness helped boost the yen-based futures contracts,” said Kazuhiko Saito, an analyst at broker Fujitomi Co. in Tokyo. The prospects of higher demand for precious metals from China before the weeklong Lunar New holiday starting Feb. 11 also boosted prices, he said.
Platinum is used in jewelry and in auto catalysts that reduce harmful emissions.