Gold edged higher on Monday as crude oil prices slid to 12-year lows and European stocks fell on persistent worries about global growth, prompting investors to seek assets considered a safe store of value.
Gains were limited, however, as the dollar firmed and oil inched up from earlier lows, pointing to a slight cooling of the risk aversion that lifted gold 1% on Friday.
Spot gold was up 0.1% at $1 089.90 an ounce at 1035 GMT, while US gold futures for February delivery were down 90 cents at $1 089.80. Prices have risen nearly 3% so far this year after weak economic data in China and a fresh move lower in the yuan in early January prompted a sell-off in Chinese stocks, which spilled over into global markets.
“There is always a very negative correlation with gold when you have turmoil in stock markets,” LBBW analyst Thorsten Proettel said.
“Right now we are seeing consolidation, but as we shift perspective towards February and March, this swing to higher prices will go on.”
Oil prices hit their lowest since late 2003 as the market braced for additional Iranian exports after the lifting of sanctions against the country over the weekend.
European shares fell 0.1% on Monday and Asian equities tumbled to their lowest since 2011 overnight as investors shunned risky assets after weak US economic data.
US retail sales fell in December along with industrial production. The renewed weakness in the world’s top economy raises doubts about whether the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates again in March.
“Clearly there are growing doubts among market participants that the US Federal Reserve will implement a further rate hike in March,” Commerzbank said in a note.
“If interest rates are not raised in the short term, the opportunity costs of holding gold will remain low for longer.”
Hedge funds and money managers switched to their first bullish bet in COMEX gold in two months in the week to Jan. 12, US Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed on Friday. Platinum fell to a seven-year low overnight at $817.50, hurt by fears over global growth.
As a largely industrial metal, heavily used by the auto sector in the manufacturing of catalytic converters, it is more exposed than gold to concerns over economic weakness. Platinum was down 0.9% at $821.66 an ounce, silver fell by 0.2% to $13.89 and palladium was 0.3% lower at $489.47.