Investors stock up on gold ETF en masse as trouble bubbles on horizon

When global political currents are difficult to read or world leaders look like they could take dramatic decisions likely to unsettle regions, investors pile into gold. With US President Donald Trump sabre-rattling in Asia, terrorist incidents shaking up France ahead of elections and civil war rolling on in Syria, it is not surprising that investors have been favouring gold of late. The world’s largest gold-backed Exchange Traded Fund is a beneficiary of this reallocation of assets as currencies react to rising risks across the world. Some analysts reckon a nasty global incident could even push gold into a higher range. – Jackie Cameron

By Susanne Barton

Bloomberg – Investors stepped up buying of the world’s largest gold-backed exchange traded fund by the most in seven months amid concern about the outcome of European elections and a more aggressive U.S. stance on North Korea, Syria and Iran.

Holdings in SPDR Gold Shares climbed 1.4 percent Wednesday to 860.76 metric tons, the biggest one-day increase since September and the highest since Dec. 7. With gold futures up 11 percent this year, buyers are pouring funds into the non-interest bearing metal as the dollar fluctuates and Treasury yields hover close to the lowest levels this year.

A worker places gold coins on display at Hatton Garden Metals precious metal dealers in London, Britain. REUTERS/Neil Hall/File Photo

After suffering a set-back in March, gold rallied this week to a five-month high amid caution over the outcome of elections in France and the U.K. and signals the Trump administration may walk away from the nuclear deal with Iran. Bank of America Merrill Lynch sees gold rising to $1,300 an ounce as the market remains jittery.

Geopolitics was “the trigger in getting the market moving higher,” Jeffrey Nichols, senior economic adviser to Rosland Capital, said in a telephone interview. “The market is subject to outside influence – maybe one of these geopolitical things heat up and push gold into a higher range.”

Gold futures for June delivery rose less than 0.1 percent to settle at $1,283.80 an ounce at 1:42 p.m. on the Comex in New York. The metal settled Tuesday at $1,294.10, the highest closing price since Nov. 4.

Gold is “not too expensive” compared with bonds and stocks, Francisco Blanch, head of commodities research at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said Thursday on Bloomberg TV.

Equities have hit a series of record highs this year. The S&P 500 index rose 0.3 percent Thursday in New York. Treasury 10-year yields touched 2.16 percent on April 18, the lowest level since November. The yield was at 2.24 percent Thursday.

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