Gold futures capped the longest run of weekly gains in 16 months as declines in global equities spurred demand for the metal as an alternative investment.
The MSCI All-Country World Index of stocks slumped the most since June amid concern that economic growth in China is easing after a manufacturing gauge unexpectedly contracted and the nation’s banking regulator ordered its regional offices to increase scrutiny of credit risks in the coal-mining industry.
“There is a flight to safe-haven assets,” Fain Shaffer, the president of Infinity Trading Corp. in Medford, Oregon, said in a telephone interview.
Gold futures for April delivery advanced 0.2 percent to settle at $1,264.50 an ounce at 1:46 p.m. on the Comex in New York. This week, the price climbed 1 percent, the fifth straight gain and the longest rally since September 2012. Earlier, the metal reached $1,273.20, the highest for a most-active contract since Nov. 20.
This month, gold has jumped 5.2 percent on increasing demand for coins, bars and jewelry in countries including China.
Last year, gold plunged 28 percent, the most since 1981, amid a U.S. equity rally to a record and speculation that the Federal Reserve will scale back monetary stimulus.
Silver futures for March delivery slipped 1.2 percent to $19.765 an ounce.
Platinum futures for April delivery fell 2.4 percent to $1,428.60 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the biggest drop since Sept. 20.
Palladium futures for March delivery declined 1.5 percent to $734.80 an ounce, the largest loss since Dec. 17
A strike at South African platinum mines paralyzed the world’s three biggest producers of the metal for a second day as talks to resolve the dispute over pay broke up until Jan. 27.