Gold rallied to near its all-time high on Tuesday, as investors sought a safe haven on fears that European officials were failing to stop a debt crisis from spreading and uncertainty related to frantic U.S. talks to raise its debt limit.
After trading flat for most of the day, bullion suddenly spiked at the end of the U.S. pit session to extend its rally for a seventh day, as crude oil and other commodities rallied and as the euro pared gains.
Bullion has gained over 6 percent this month on fears about a deepening euro zone crisis, now trading less than $5 below its all-time high of $1,575.79 US set on May 2. Gold priced in euro and sterling hit record highs for a second consecutive day.
"With the euro zone debt crisis and the U.S. debt ceiling talks, there is a tremendous flight to quality. Gold is the commodity to invest in because the currencies aren't doing well," said Mihir Dange, COMEX gold options floor trader for Arbitrage LLC.
Spot gold was up 1 percent at $1,568.89 an ounce. U.S. COMEX August gold futures settled up $13.10 at $1,562.30, after trading between $1,541.10 and $1,574.30.
U.S. trading volume was around 170,000 lots, one of the heaviest since the start of June, as investors switched their focus back on the gold market as equities have slumped
Financial markets hammered European assets after euro zone finance ministers opened the door to a possible Greek default and failed to prevent contagion spreading to Italy and Spain.
Gold in euros rose for a third day, climbing 1.5 percent to hit a record above 1,123 euros.
Gold priced in higher-yielding currencies, which also suffered the brunt of investor distaste for risk, such as the Australian dollar, the South African rand or the Canadian dollar, also rallied.
"If you live in Greece, you are going to buy gold because that's the hard money you still trust," said Axel Merk, portfolio manager who oversees $700 million in mutual fund assets at Merk Investments.
DENNIS GARTMAN PARES EURO GOLD TRADE
Independent investor Dennis Gartman, who has called for buying gold in non-U.S. currency terms, however, has trimmed his euro-priced gold positions on worries about an overbought trade.
"Everywhere we turned yesterday the talk was of the gold/euro trade. In that environment it is perhaps wise if we remove ourselves quietly from the party, reducing our exposure by one-third...," Gartman said in a note.
The euro hit a four-month low against the dollar and another record low against the Swiss franc on fears euro zone leaders were failing to prevent a debt crisis from spreading.
Fears that the debt crisis is spilling over the other European countries have boosted gold. The main measure of Italy's borrowing costs broke above 6 percent for the first time in 14 years as the euro zone's third-largest economy was sucked into the bloc's debt crisis.
U.S. DEBT CEILING RAISES UNCERTAINTY
Also underpinning gold is growing uncertainty over a deal to raise the U.S. debt ceiling to preserve the good faith and low borrowing costs for the world's largest economy.
The U.S. dollar's reserve currency status would also be severely undermined and that would boost gold, if the country defaults on Aug. 2, the U.S. imposed deadline to raise the debt limit.
The next two key risk events for gold will be U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's semi-annual testimony on monetary policy to Congress on Wednesday.
Courtesy of BNN.CA
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