Precious-Gold heads for best monthly gain since Jan 2012 on rush to safety

Silver on track for biggest monthly increase on record

  
Image used for illustrative purposes. An employee sorts gold bars in the Austrian Gold and Silver Separating Plant 'Oegussa' in Vienna, Austria, December 15, 2017.

Image used for illustrative purposes. An employee sorts gold bars in the Austrian Gold and Silver Separating Plant 'Oegussa' in Vienna, Austria, December 15, 2017.

REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Gold rose on Friday and headed for its biggest monthly gain in 8-1/2 years as the impact of the worsening coronavirus pandemic on the U.S. economy hammered the dollar, prompting investors to seek refuge in bullion.

Spot gold gained 0.8% to $1,975.10 per ounce by 1207 GMT, while U.S. gold futures rose 1.5% to $1,970.80.

Prices hit a record $1,980.57 on Tuesday and are up nearly 11% so far this month, their biggest monthly percentage gain since Jan. 2012.

Silver also climbed 3% to $24.25 per ounce, on course for its largest monthly rise on records going back to 1982 - up about 34% - with additional impetus from hopes for a revival in industrial activity.

"Gold is more of a store of value right now than pretty much anything else," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

The dollar, often seen by investors as a rival safe-haven, was on track for its biggest monthly drop in almost a decade. Its decline makes dollar-priced gold cheaper for holders of other currencies. 

Along with U.S. data showing the deepest economic contraction in at least 73 years in the second quarter and a rise in unemployment, the dollar was also hurt by President Donald Trump raising the possibility of delaying the November presidential election.

"Optimism about a V-shaped recovery is very much at risk and gold is seeing the benefit from that. It's quite likely that we'll see $2,000 an ounce in fairly short order," Hewson said.

Gold's latest jump has taken gains for the year to 30%, also driven by low interest rates globally amid widespread stimulus from central banks since the metal is considered a refuge from inflation and currency debasement.

Money managers allocated $3.9 billion into gold, the second largest weekly inflow ever, Bank of America said on Friday.

Elsewhere, platinum eased 0.1% to $902.28 per ounce, and palladium XPD= fell 0.8% to $2,065.87.

(Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Jan Harvey) ((eileen.soreng@thomsonreuters.com; Within U.S. +1 646 223 8780, Outside U.S. +91 80 6749 6131; Reuters Messaging: eileen.soreng.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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