Gold raced to a record high above $1,140 (U.S.) an ounce Monday, gaining 2 per cent as a weakened U.S. dollar boosted funds' risk appetite for investments across the board.
Gains in gold spurred interest in other precious metals, with platinum, palladium, silver and rhodium all hitting their strongest levels in more than a year, largely driven by a tumbling dollar.
"A weak dollar has increased the demand of risky assets of all kinds, including hard assets. It is clearly reinforcing the commodities bull market," said James Steel, chief commodities analyst at HSBC.
"In this atmosphere, it is almost impossible for gold to resist appreciating along with everything else," Mr. Steel said.
Year to date, gold has risen 30 per cent, outperforming the broad-based equities S&P 500 index, which has gained 23 per cent over the same period.
Gold's ascent was driven by a combination of dollar weakness, inflation worries and doubts about a nascent economic recovery, analysts said.
Spot gold reached a record $1,143.25 an ounce, and was at $1,142.70 an ounce at 2:12 p.m. ET, against $1,118.50 late in New York on Friday.
U.S. December gold futures settled up $22.50, or 2 per cent, at $1,139.20 an ounce on Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Gold's gains were momentarily capped as the dollar managed a brief rally off lows after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the Fed was attentive to changes in the currency. But as investors digested his comments, they decided there were no signals of change to monetary policy.
Rising equity markets also boosted the appeal of assets seen as higher risk, such as commodities and higher-yielding currencies. U.S. stocks rose almost 2 per cent.
Other commodities also rallied, with the Reuters/Jefferies CRB index up nearly 3 per cent, as oil rose more than $2 toward $80 a barrel, while base metals such as zinc and copper also climbed.
Gold now looks poised for further gains, analysts said, with a number of call options, or rights to buy, being placed at elevated levels on U.S. December gold futures.
"There is no reason why over the next few days it can't have a push towards that $1,200 mark before we get to the December expiry for the options positions, which everyone's looking at," said Tom Kendall, precious metals strategist at Mitsubishi Corp.
"There is a large bunch of $1,200 calls December expiry, which are acting as a bit of a magnet for prices at the moment."
Gold's gains lifted other precious metals, with silver reaching its highest since July last year at $18.43. Platinum hit $1,451.50 an ounce, its highest since September 2008 and palladium reached its strongest level in 15 months at $375.50.
Later, platinum was at $1,444.50 an ounce against $1,390, while palladium was at $374 against $353.50. Rhodium hit a 13-month high at $2,375.
Silver was at $18.41 an ounce against $17.41.
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- Gold Front Month Futures$1.20K-1.00(-0.08%)
- Crude Oil Front Month Futures$27.29-0.16(-0.58%)
- Copper High Grade Front Month Futures$2.02-0.02(-1.10%)
- Silver Front Month Futures$15.30-0.14(-0.93%)
- NYMEX PLATINUM FUTURES CHAIN Front M$929.20-8.50(-0.91%)
- NYMEX PALLADIUM FUTURES CHAIN Front$525.000.00(0.00%)
- Updated February 2 5:00 PM EST. Delayed by at least 15 minutes.