Gold jumps to near 3-month top as stocks, oil tumble

MANILA: Gold rallied to its highest since November on Tuesday, with investors shifting to safe-haven assets as worries over a slowing global economy hit stocks and crude oil again.

The Federal Reserve is expected to take notice of the macroeconomic headwinds from China to Europe when policymakers meet later in the day, boosting hopes that it may go easy in hiking US interest rates further.

That bodes well for gold, which has risen nearly 5 percent so far this year, after losing more than 10 percent in 2015. Spot gold was up 0.5 percent at $1,112.86 an ounce by 0635 GMT, after earlier peaking at $1,113.54, its highest since Nov. 4.

“Gold might go for a run,” said Brian Lan, managing director at gold dealer GoldSilver Central in Singapore, adding the metal could test $1,138, reached on Nov. 3. “If that is breached, it could go to $1,160.”

“We’ve heard some demand increasing in China because the stock market and currencies – people don’t have confidence in these anymore – so the only one that they are looking at at the moment is gold,” said Lan.

Asian stocks skidded, with Chinese shares down 5 percent, after oil prices fell back below $30 a barrel.

US gold for February delivery rose 0.7 percent to $1,113.10 an ounce.

The Federal Open Market Committee starts a two-day policy meeting later on Tuesday, and is widely expected to leave its federal funds rate unchanged at 0.25-0.50 percent.

The probability of another rate increase at the next Fed meeting in March has eased, with some analysts seeing it postponed to later in the year.

That puts downward pressure on the dollar and benefits gold.

At this week’s meeting, it is likely that “the Fed will reiterate its dovish stance and this should push gold prices up”, INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir wrote to clients.

Meir said the poor shape of the US equity market shows “a major capitulation will be needed in order to clear out much of the selling”, suggesting investors should keep a bullish gold bias in the near term.

Spot platinum was down 0.6 percent at $853.24 an ounce, but well off last week’s seven-year trough of $806.31.

Platinum is forecast to average less than $1,000 an ounce in 2016 for the first time in more than a decade as global growth concerns and demand fallout from the Volkswagen scandal grip the market, a Reuters poll showed.

Spot palladium slipped 0.6 percent to $486.90 an ounce and silver gained 0.3 percent to $14.27.

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