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Gold Glitters as Prices Continue Record-Breaking Surge

Markets
0 min read

Gold prices have been on a dazzling run in recent months, with the precious metal notching consecutive monthly gains to reach new all-time highs. On Monday, spot gold prices topped $2,100 an ounce for the first time ever, hitting $2,110 before pulling back slightly. This adds to the previous record set back on Friday when prices exceeded $2,075, blowing past 2020’s earlier high point.

Analysts say gold still has room to run in 2023 and 2024 as key conditions line up to support further upside for bullion. Low interest rates, a weakening US dollar, rising inflation concerns globally, and an array of simmering geopolitical conflicts should all conspire to keep safe haven demand elevated.

“There is simply less leverage this time around versus 2011 in gold,” said Nicky Shiels of MKS PAMP, noting that the current dynamics put $2,200/oz within reach. Other experts concur, with UOB strategist Heng Koon How targeting $2,200 gold by end-2024, and TD Securities anticipating average prices around $2,100 in Q2 2024.

Fueling this gold fever has been robust central bank buying, especially across emerging markets. Recent data shows 24% of central banks worldwide intend to pad their gold reserves over the next year as economic uncertainty persists. With these institutions showing waning faith in traditional reserve assets like the US dollar, their bullion accumulation provides a sturdy pillar of support.

Geopolitical Flare-Ups Stoke Safe Haven Appeal

Mounting geopolitical tensions represent another propellant behind gold’s rise. The bloody conflict between Israel and Palestine has recently stoked investor fears, driving many towards gold’s relative stability. Looking ahead, strategists believe various other hotspots could flare up and lift bullion demand more.

Besides the Middle East, worsening frictions between China and Taiwan or a resurgence of the crisis in Ukraine could shock markets. And if the US gets dragged into any new foreign entanglements, it may have to ramp up defense spending and borrowing, potentially weakening both growth and the dollar.

With so many risks swirling, portfolio managers and retail buyers appear increasingly eager to hedge with gold. Notably, demand has climbed even as gold prices touched multi-year highs. This underscores bullion’s unique status as a tried-and-true safe haven asset.

Fed Policy Outlook Could Offer Further Boost

Though gold has powered higher despite a spate of Fed rate hikes, any change in this tightening cycle would provide another major catalyst. After lifting interest rates rapidly from near-zero, policymakers must now decide whether to keep tightening or ease off the brakes.

Several officials, including Governor Christopher Waller, have hinted rates may not rise much further if inflation keeps slowing as expected. Markets thus see potential Fed rate cuts arriving sometime in 2024.

If implemented, this dovish shift would likely hamstring the dollar and bond yields, stirring more demand for non-interest-bearing gold. Hence analysts view Fed pivots as a probable linchpin that keeps prices locked above $2,000 over the next couple of years.

With stars aligned for gold both fundamentally and geopolitically, all the ingredients seem in place for its dazzling run to continue. That leaves bulls dreaming ever more ambitiously of how high prices could yet soar. However, given gold’s inherent volatility, traders should steel themselves for pullbacks as well while enjoying the ride upwards.

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