Futures & Commodities

Gold rises as Omicron surge lifts safe-haven demand

Key Points
  • Worries around Omicron sparked safe-haven bid in gold- analysts
  • U.S. benchmark 10-year yield rises
  • Dollar hits five-year high versus yen
A line of 12,5 kilogram gold ingots following the shot blasting process at the JSC Krastsvetmet non-ferrous metals plant in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, on Monday, July 12, 2021.
Andrey Rudakov | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Gold prices rose on Tuesday as demand for the safe-haven metal was boosted by worries over a surge in COVID-19 cases of the Omicron variant that could threaten global economic recovery.

Spot gold was last up 0.8% at 1,814.45 per ounce by 13:54 ET (1854 GMT). U.S. gold futures settled up 0.8% at $1,814.60.

The year started off with fresh record highs for equities, but since it is hard to determine whether this winning streak will continue, investors have started to go back into safety, said Ed Moya, senior market analyst at brokerage OANDA.

"The impact of Omicron is going to be mostly felt on the inflationary side and on economic recovery," Moya added.

Wall Street pared gains after an optimistic start to the New Year as investors dialed back risk-taking after data showed U.S. manufacturing slowed last month and COVID-19 concerns persisted.

Several countries have imposed fresh restrictions to tackle a surge in cases driven by the new variant.

Concerns surrounding the Omicron variant have sparked a safe-haven bid in gold, TD Securities wrote in a note, adding that, "higher gold prices are inconsistent with global markets pricing in a 70% probability for a Fed rate hike in March, which places a cap on prices."

Gold, which offers no yield of its own, tends to fall out of favour with investors when interest rates rise.

Renewed inflation concerns could hit the marketplace in the near term and sap risk appetite as bond yields are likely to continue to rise, Jim Wyckoff, a senior analyst at Kitco Metals, said in a note.

Gold's gains came despite higher U.S. Treasury yields and a stronger dollar, with Fed funds futures traders pricing in three rate hikes by the Federal Reserve by the end of 2022.

Silver rose 0.7% to $23.02 per ounce, platinum was up 1.7% at $970.73, and palladium climbed 2.2% to $1,865.27.