Gold futures jumped to the highest closing price in nine weeks as the dollar snapped the longest rally in eight months, boosting demand for the precious metal as an alternative investment.
The greenback, down for the first time in eight sessions, has climbed 1 percent in January against a basket of 10 currencies. Gold has climbed 5 percent this month as demand for coins, jewelry and bars increased after prices dropped to a six-month low on Dec. 31.
“The dollar is helping gold today,” Phil Streible, a senior commodity broker at R.J. O’Brien & Associates in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “Physical demand has remained steady” in Asia, he said.
Gold futures for April delivery rose 1.9 percent to close at $1,262.50 an ounce at 1:40 p.m. on the Comex in New York, the highest settlement since Nov. 19. The gain was the biggest jump since Dec. 10. Trading was 74 percent above the average in the past 100 days for this time, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.
In 2013, gold tumbled 28 percent, the most since 1981. Some investors lost faith in the metal as a store of value amid a U.S. equity rally to a record and muted inflation.
Today, futures reached $1,267.10, the highest intraday price since Dec. 10. The Dow Jones Industrial Average headed for the biggest drop in four months as global equities declined after a gauge of China’s manufacturing signaled contraction.
Platinum futures for April delivery climbed 0.1 percent to $1,463.20 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Earlier, the price reached $1,470.70, the highest for a most-active contract since Nov. 7.
At least 70,000 workers in South Africa began a strike today over wages at the world’s biggest platinum mines. The stoppage will disrupt operations accounting for 70 percent of global output.
Silver futures for March delivery gained 0.9 percent to $20.01 an ounce on the Comex.
Palladium futures for March delivery fell 0.4 percent to $745.90 an ounce on the Nymex.