Gold Hits New Record, Topping $900

Gold hit a record high above $900 an ounce on Monday as turmoil in financial markets and expectations of aggressive U.S. rate cuts helped raise the metal the metal's safe-haven appeal.

Platinum hit a lifetime high while silver touched a 27-year peak, buoyed by gold's rise.

Spot gold hit an all-time high of $906.70 an ounce, higher than $895.70/896.50 in New York on Friday.

COMEX gold futures touched $908.90 an ounce, surpassing Friday's record high of $900.10. The most active February contract was later quoted at $907.0, up $9.3 an ounce.

Japanese gold futures were closed for a holiday.

"There is blue sky ahead of us and there is room for gold to go higher. We are in an uncharted territory, really," said Darren Heathcote of Investec Australia in Sydney. "We have a weaker dollar and that's encouraged people to buy gold," he said.

Investors have bought gold as a safe-haven asset after the dollar dropped on expectations the Federal Reserve would cut interest rates by an aggressive half-percentage point at its Jan. 29-30 policy meeting to rescue the U.S. economy.

Fears of further subprime mortgage-related write-downs in the U.S. financial sector and inflation fears driven by record-high crude oil also attracted buying from investors and speculators.

"I can see there's some short-covering here and there," said Ronald Leung, director of Lee Cheong Gold Dealers in Hong Kong.

"Nobody knows what the next target is. $910, or $920 and even $950, we don't know. There's short-covering everywhere," he said.

The euro jumped to $1.4875 on electronic trading platform EBS, the highest since late November and within a cent of a record high of $1.4968 hit that month.

Gold was on track to break above $900 but some dealers said the metal may have trouble staying above that level as high prices were likely to turn away jewellery makers and other
physical buyers.

"I still think it's not sustainable. The physical sector is not too enthusiastic to purchase here," said William Kwan, a dealer at Phillip Futures in Singapore.

"On the speculative side, the small speculators have already gotten out of their shorts," he added.

Gold's 14-day relative strength indicator (RSI) rose to 85.95 on Friday as gold hit a record, and hovered above 80 on Monday. The market views an RSI of 30 or less as oversold and 70 or more as overbought.

In Singapore, dealers noted selling from holders who cashed in on gold's gains as well as limited purchases from jewellers at lower levels.

Gold mining stocks rallied after U.S. gold futures hit record highs, with Newcrest Mining up 1.32 percent, Lihir Gold up 1.02 percent and Sino Gold rising 7.14 percent.

Platinum hit record high of $1,578 ounce, up from $1,562/1,566 an ounce in New York.

Silver rallied to its highest in 27 years at $16.48/16.53 an ounce from $16.19/16.24 late in New York. Palladium rose to $376/380 an ounce from $375/379.