Gold and silver futures capped the longest rallies since August as economic concerns boosted demand for the metals as alternative investments.
Data on Feb. 7 showed U.S. payrolls rose less than forecast in January, pushing the dollar to a three-week low against a basket of 10 currencies. The Federal Reserve said Jan. 29 it will trim monthly bond buying by another $10 billion with the pace of cuts depending on gains in the economy.
Gold has climbed 6 percent this year amid currency turmoil in emerging markets, while about $1.63 trillion has been erased from the value of global equity markets. The metal rose 70 percent from December 2008 to June 2011 as the Fed pumped more than $2 trillion into the financial system. Janet Yellen, the new chairman, will deliver her first testimony to Congress tomorrow.
“The safe-haven premium is back with growth concerns re-emerging,” Bart Melek, an analyst at TD Securities in Toronto, said in a telephone interview. “Tomorrow, people will be watching Yellen’s determination to continue with tapering.”
Gold futures for April delivery rose 0.9 percent to $1,274.70 an ounce at 1:39 p.m. on the Comex in New York. The price has climbed for the fourth straight session, the longest rally since Aug. 12.
Silver futures March delivery advanced 0.9 percent to $20.112 an ounce. The metal climbed for the sixth straight session, the longest rally since Aug. 16.
In 2013, gold tumbled 28 percent and silver plunged 36 percent, the most since 1981, amid a U.S. equity rally to a record and muted inflation.
The China Gold Association said today that the nation’s demand surged 41 percent to a record 1,176.4 metric tons in 2013.
China probably overtook India as the world’s largest consumer of the metal last year, the World Gold Council has said.
Gold futures traded above the 100-day moving average, a bullish signal to some analysts who study historical price patterns, Melek said. The measure was at $1,271.79.
“There is some technical buying, and it will find some support as it was able to close above the average” for the first time since October, he said.
Sales of gold coins by the U.S. Mint rose 63 percent in January to the highest since April, while silver demand almost quadrupled.
Palladium futures for March delivery climbed 1.1 percent to $716.75 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Platinum futures for April delivery increased 0.5 percent to $1,385.90 an ounce.
Talks in South Africa to end a strike that has crippled production at the world’s largest platinum mines have been postponed until later this week.