×

Gold hits 4-week high as Brexit vote shakes stocks

Gold coins
Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Gold rose for the fourth straight session and hit its highest since mid-May on Monday, driven by rising investor risk aversion before central bank meetings this week and Britain's June 23 vote on whether to leave the European Union.

The pound fell to a two-month low against the dollar, pushing gold denominated in sterling to its highest in nearly three years at 909.83 pounds an ounce, up 1.9 percent.

Spot gold was up 0.79 percent at $1,284.01 an ounce, off an earlier peak of $1,287. U.S. gold futures for August delivery settled up 0.9 percent at $1,286.90 an ounce.

Fading expectations for a U.S. Federal Reserve rate hike have driven prices sharply higher so far this month. Gold has rallied 6 percent since U.S. payrolls data for May came in weaker than expected on June 3, crushing expectations for an interest rate hike over the summer.

"Following the labor market report a Fed rate hike has been priced out for June and July, and at the same time it seems as if odds for the UK to leave the European Union have come back up again," Danske Bank analyst Jens Pedersen said. "Those two factors are benefiting gold."

Fears Britain is on the verge of voting to leave the European Union next week spread through global financial markets on Monday, sending global stock markets lower. The dollar fell 0.22 percent against a basket of major currencies.

"Gold has fluctuated in line with the Brexit opinion polls, even dislocating it from its usual primary link with the U.S. dollar," Citi said in a note on Monday.

The Fed, Bank of England, Swiss National Bank and Bank of Japan will all meet this week, and are expected to hold monetary policy steady.

UBS Chief Investment Office Wealth Management Research said in a note that it has gone overweight platinum and underweight gold, each by 2 percent. It said it is capitalizing on firmer industrial activity in platinum while eyeing negative short-term catalysts for gold, such as the market's "overly pessimistic" pricing of U.S. rates and expectations for the U.S. dollar weakness to reverse.

On Friday, holdings in the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, rose to the highest since October 2013.

Among other precious metals, silver futures were up 0.58 percent at $17.43 an ounce, while platinum was down 0.2 percent at $992 an ounce and palladium was 0.71 percent lower at $542.10 per ounce.