Gold jumped more than 1 per cent overnight as risk appetite took a back seat with cautious investors awaiting clarity on the state of the economy and further stimulus from the US Federal Reserve’s policy meeting.

Spot gold gained 1.2 per cent to $US1,714.78 per ounce by 1800 GMT. US gold futures settled up 1 per cent to $US1,721.90.

“The expectations of further Fed stimulus are in the forefront of what’s been supporting gold over the last couple of days. In addition, we’re also seeing global equities tick lower slightly across the board,” said David Meger, director of metals trading at High Ridge Futures.

“We’re seeing an unprecedented amount of global liquidity and that underlying fundamental environment is extremely supportive for gold.”

Massive global stimulus to limit the economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic has supported gold, considered a hedge against inflation and currency debasement.

Major Wall Street indexes fell, while tech-heavy Nasdaq hit a record high for the third straight session ahead of the Fed meeting, which could offer views on recent signs of economic recovery.

Last week’s stronger-than-expected US employment report will most likely be discussed at the meeting ending Wednesday, while traders have stopped pricing in the possibility of negative interest rates.

In April, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the US economy could feel the weight of the economic shutdown for over a year.

Elsewhere, silver dropped 1.2 per cent to $US17.64 an ounce while platinum rose 0.5 per cent to $US836.52.

Palladium dipped 4.1 per cent to $US1,939.50, with prices of the autocatalyst metal now down over 30 per cent from a record peak in late February.

“The corona crisis has led to a collapse in palladium demand, while supply disruptions for platinum outweighed this. Platinum should rise in line with gold, whilst palladium should benefit from a recovery in demand from automobile production,” a Commerzbank analyst said in a note.

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