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13 April 2024

Gold and platinum hit record

By Agencies

Gold roared to a record on Thursday as crude oil rose above $100 a barrel, while platinum jumped to a historic high on speculative buying driven by supply fears in main producer South Africa.

Not to be outdone, palladium hit a 6-1/2-year high and silver rallied to its best level in 27 years, reflecting renewed buying interest from funds and speculators in precious metals.

Gold hit a high of $948.60 an ounce, up from $934.80/935.60 an ounce late in New York on Wednesday, also driven by a struggling US dollar.

"There's been a movement of investment funds from other asset classes to commodities again, and I think gold has benefited from that move," said Darren Heathcote of Investec Australia in Sydney.

"There's still a fair bit of safe-haven demand. Gold is receiving support from several angles at the moment," he said.

Oil climbed back above $100 on Thursday, about a dollar off record highs, on hedge fund inflows and OPEC supply concerns, with traders weighing US economic worries against hopes of more Fed cuts.

The dollar was little changed against the yen and the euro, hit by expectations the Federal Reserve will keep slashing interest rates to prevent the U.S. economy from suffering a sharper downturn.

In theory, high oil prices elevate gold's appeal as hedge against inflation, while a weaker dollar lifts the metal's allure as an alternative investment.

US gold futures also hit record high. The active gold for April delivery GCJ8 on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange rose as high as $952.4 an ounce.

Jewellers in Indonesia and Vietnam cashed in on gold's rally, keeping gold bars on par with the spot London prices in Singapore.

Spot platinum rose to record high of $2,182/2,192 an ounce, from $2,120/2,130 an ounce late in New York.

Platinum has surged more than 40 per cent this year after mines in South Africa, which account for 80 per cent of the world's supply, ground to a halt for five days at the height of last month's power crisis.

"The momentum is back. Gold has broken out of the consolidation phase. The potential upside is definitely $1,000 in the first quarter," said William Kwan of Phillip Futures in Singapore.

"Most of those investors are afraid they won't be having enough precious metals: gold, silver and platinum. So they are buying ahead," said Kwan, who pegged the upside target for platinum at $2,200.

Japanese platinum futures rose but were off record highs, with new margin rules having no impact on speculative buying which have driven prices up. (Reuters)