Gold rises on dollar weakness, palladium hits 17-year peak

Key Points
  • Gold prices moved higher on Tuesday, hitting a more than three-week high
  • The futures market was closed for the Christmas holiday on Monday
Gold bullion bars and coins.
Getty Images

Gold prices edged up on Tuesday to a more than three-week high on support from a weaker dollar and chart signals, as palladium touched the highest level since February 2001 on supply worries.

Precious metals markets reopened after being closed on Monday for the Christmas holiday. Investors were scooping up commodities as the main equity gauges on Wall Street were under pressure. Many markets around the world, including in parts of Europe and Asia, were shut on Tuesday.

Spot gold was up 0.69 percent at $1,283.6801 per ounce after reaching its highest level since Dec. 1 at $1,283.72.

U.S. gold futures for February delivery settled up $8.70, or 0.68 percent, at $1,287.50 per ounce.

Prices are on track for a second straight annual gain. Worries persisted over geopolitical risks and U.S. dollar weakness bolstered bullion's appeal.

The dollar index retreated, making greenback-traded commodities less expensive to holders of other currencies.

The United States on Tuesday announced sanctions on two North Korean officials for their roles in developing the country's ballistic missiles. Tensions have been rising over the programs, which the Asian nation is pursuing in defiance of years of U.N. Security Council resolutions. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that "Washington's aggressive rhetoric" had heightened tension on the Korean peninsula and was unacceptable.

Last week, gold gained for a second straight week and closed above its 200-day moving average, a key technical indicator.

"Because gold is somewhat under-owned, traders are taking a second look to see if we can get over $1,300 area," said George Gero, managing director of RBC Wealth Management in New York, noting support from the dollar, safe-haven buying and chart signals.

Speculators have built up a bullish bet in bullion and brought a net long stance in silver to a record, U.S. government data showed on Friday.

Spot palladium was up 1.08 percent at $1,047.70 per ounce after rising as high as $1,051.30. Strong demand from autocatalyst makers reinforced the prospect of market shortages. Analysts expect that about 80 percent of global palladium demand will come from autocatalysts for gasoline-powered cars, which many consumers now prefer over diesel-fueled vehicles.

"There's some worries for supplies," Gero said.

Spot silver was up 1.11 percent at $16.541 per ounce after touching $16.551, its highest level in over three weeks.

Spot platinum edged up 0.38 percent to $917.50.