Futures & Commodities

Gold jumps as dollar slides; palladium hits record

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Gold rose as much as 1 percent on Friday as the dollar fell after U.S. Federal Reserve officials made cautions comments that fed doubt about the outlook for interest rate hikes, while palladium hit a record high driven by worries about short supplies.

Spot gold rose 0.7 percent to $1,221.38 an ounce by 2:47 p.m. ET. The session high was the highest since Nov. 8 at $1,225.29. Gold was on track to gain about 1 percent this week.

U.S. gold futures gained $8 to settle at $1,223.

Two Fed officials cautioned that global economic growth was slowing and the dollar fell to one-week lows against a basket of major currencies, making bullion cheaper for buyers using other currencies.

"When you get people talking about the economy slowing down, they may not raise rates so quickly or as aggressively and that is bearish for the dollar," said INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir.

Further support for gold came from weaker global stock markets and lower U.S. Treasury yields.

"A weaker dollar and lower yields are pretty much tailor made to benefit gold," said James Steel, chief metals analyst at HSBC Securities in New York, who sees prices rising to $1,245-$1,250.

Palladium hit a record high of $1,185.40 during the session, within a whisker of parity with gold for the first time in 16 years.

"The market is in a big deficit. There is a lot of fund interest in palladium because the funds like to buy something when its moving... But the supply is of concern now," INTL's Meir said.

Used mainly in emissions-reducing auto catalysts for vehicles, palladium, the only precious metal on track for an annual gain, was also helped by speculation Beijing may provide a stimulus to Chinese auto markets.

"In the medium to longer term, I do not think these price levels are sustainable ... also assuming we do get some sort of stimulus in China that pulls more and more demand into the present and weighs on the future demand outlook for the Chinese car market," said Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke.

Car dealers in the world's biggest car market have been pushing for Beijing to support the sector.