Gold surged over 1% on Tuesday to fetch more than $1,600 an ounce as Apple Inc’s surprise warning about the impact of the coronavirus outbreak fueled concerns about global economic weakness, driving investors to lower-risk assets.
Palladium notched an all-time high, driven by short supplies of the auto-catalyst metal.
Spot gold was up 1.3% at $1,601 per ounce as of 1:55 p.m. EST, after hitting $1,605.10, the highest since Jan. 8, earlier in the session.
U.S. gold futures settled 1.1% higher at $1,603.60 an ounce.
“The equity markets are under pressure and gold is still being viewed as a quintessential safe-haven asset as we do get some negative news in this case in regards to coronavirus and its effects on the global economy,” said David Meger, director of metals trading at High Ridge Futures.
Apple, the world’s most valuable technology company, said it was unlikely to meet its March-quarter sales forecast because the coronavirus outbreak was pressuring its supply chain.
The surprise sales warning knocked global equities off record highs and fed buying of safe-haven assets.
“There are concerns that this whole coronavirus situation may be little worse than many expected and the implication is that central banks around the world will be somewhat more dovish and the market is staring to price this reality in,” said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategies at TD Securities.
China’s central bank cut the interest rate on its medium-term loans on Monday as policymakers sought to reduce the economic shock from the virus outbreak.
The death toll in China had climbed to 1,868, the National Health Commission said, and the World Health Organization said “every scenario is still on the table” in terms of the epidemic’s evolution.
“Gold continues to make these moves sideways to higher in the midst of a traditionally firmer dollar which has the tendency to limit or cap commodities moves shows how strong the gold market is,” High Ridge Futures’ Meger said.
The dollar index climbed to a more than four-month high against key rivals, also gaining from safe-haven interest.
Palladium gained 2.8% at $2,592 an ounce, after hitting an all-time high of $2,592.02.
“This can be only partly explained by the ongoing production problems in South Africa due to power supply disruptions and this year’s renewed high supply deficit,” Commerzbank analysts said in a note.
Silver rose 2.2% to $18.16 per ounce, while platinum surged 2.3% to $991.22.
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