Gold futures rose Monday to settle at their highest since late July as benchmark stock indexes mostly declined and a leading dollar index weakened.
December gold rose $8.30, or 0.7%, to settle at $1,230.30 an ounce. That was the highest finish for a most-active contract since July 31, according to FactSet data. Meanwhile, December silver rose 9.2 cents, or 0.6%, to $14.727 an ounce.
For last week, gold climbed 1.4% — its second weekly rise in a row, while silver ended the week roughly 0.1% lower.
“The yellow metal has risen as investors are seeking safety as global [equities]continue to drop,” said Alfonso Esparza, senior market analyst at Oanda.
“Geopolitics events have snowballed around the globe and traders have to value the possible impacts of a trade war between the U.S. and China, Brexit negotiations, monetary policy divergence between major central banks and a global growth slowdown.”
European stocks booked their biggest weekly decline in eight months last week, though moved higher Monday. U.S. stocks were trading mostly lower as gold futures settled.
Equity-market volatility has been underpinned by concerns over rising Treasury rates. A rapid rise in rates also has coincided with weakness in the U.S. dollar, which has helped to remove a headwind for the precious commodity. Gold tends to gain when the dollar is weaker because the assets become relatively more attractive to buyers using other monetary units. One popular measure of the buck, the ICE U.S. Dollar Index was down 0.1% at 95.092, on Monday.
Recent dollar weakness has defied the buck’s overall trend higher, a rise fueled by monetary policy tightening at the Federal Reserve. The Fed has hiked interest rates three times this year and may do so a fourth time before year-end, which could provide some resistance to gold bulls because rising rates are likely to juice the dollar and make risk-free government bonds a more attractive investment when compared against bullion.
“The minutes from the September Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting on Wednesday will bring more insights into the central bank’s plans and could reverse the direction of the greenback, putting pressure on gold,” said Esparza.
Meanwhile, last week’s reversal for gold left much of the market wrong-footed, helping to goose the move, said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy for Saxo Bank.
“In gold, the net-short [position, which assumes the price will go down] rose by 41% to a fresh record…just days before the yellow metal jumped by the most since 2016,” he said in a tweet.
“So many fresh shorts caught offside by emerging safe haven demand and softer yields helps explain the $30 surge last Thursday.”
Hansen said long-term gold bears will be eyeing a close above $1,238 for an indication that sentiment has turned against them.