Futures & Commodities

Gold hits 2-week high on growth fears, palladium scales new peak

An employee arranges gold bars for a photograph at the YLG Bullion International headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand on January 13, 2016.
Dario Pignatelli | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Gold rose on Monday to its highest in over two weeks as weak economic data from the euro zone stoked global recession fears and forced investors to seek refuge in bullion, while palladium soared to a record on a sustained supply shortfall.

Spot gold was up 0.5% at $1,524.71 per ounce, after hitting its highest since Sept. 6. U.S. gold futures rose 1.1% to $1,532.40 an ounce.

"The weak German PMI numbers gave a little bit of a shock to the stock market and led investors into safety like gold and silver," said Phillip Streible, senior commodities strategist at RJO Futures.

Gold could hit $1,550 in this supportive environment of "weak interest rates, increasing geopolitical risks, no (trade) agreement with China and weak data that shows we are slipping into recession," Streible added.

German private sector activity shrank for the first time in 6-1/2 years in September as a manufacturing recession deepened unexpectedly and growth in the service sector lost momentum, while euro zone business growth stalled, a survey showed on Monday.

Meanwhile, better-than-expected U.S. manufacturing PMI data helped stock markets pare some losses, but failed to dent gold's upward momentum.

Investors are also keeping a close eye on U.S.-China trade ties, after a Chinese agriculture delegation cancelled their visit to U.S. farm states, adding to the uncertainty in the drawn-out dispute that has weighed on the global economy.

Adding to geopolitical tensions, U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday approved sending American troops to bolster Saudi Arabia's air and missile defenses after the largest-ever attack on the kingdom's oil facilities.

Meanwhile, palladium prices soared to a record high of $1,664.50 an ounce. The autocatalyst metal has risen nearly 8% or about $115 so far this month.

"People are starting to realize that auto sales and production outside of China is actually not so bad and so demand from the industrial sector is stronger that what people thought," said Jeffrey Christian, managing partner of CPM Group.

"In addition to that, there are a lot of investors moving in that market and in such a small, illiquid market, it doesn't take a lot of investors to drive the price higher."

Elsewhere, silver gained 3.5% to $18.61 per ounce and platinum rose 1.8% to $962.55.