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Gold hits record high as Iran shock triggers haven support

By AFP

May 20, 2024 07:32 PM


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The price of gold hit a record high Monday as the shock death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash boosted support for the precious metal seen as a haven investment.

Copper also struck an all-time peak and silver jumped to the highest level in more than 11 years -- with markets generally gaining from a brighter economic outlook.

Gold had already hit a series of record highs this year.

Asian and European stock markets began the week higher, having recently struck all-time peaks along with indices on Wall Street, where the Dow ended above 40,000 points for the first time on Friday. Wall Street opened flat with the Dow sliding back below 40,000 points.

The metals are priced in the dollar, which has come under pressure recently from expectations that the US Federal Reserve will soon start to cut interest rates as inflation cools.

Gold struck a record $2,450.07 an ounce Monday, while copper's all-time high stood at $11,104 per tonne.

Raisi was confirmed dead on Monday after search and rescue teams found his crashed helicopter in a fog-shrouded western mountain region, sparking mourning in the Islamic republic.

Foreign countries had been closely following the search at a time of high regional tensions over the Gaza war raging between Israel and Hamas since October 7.

"Gold and copper have hit record highs, (and) silver jumped to an 11-year high... after the death of Iran's president in a helicopter crash," noted Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Finalto trading group.

"There is a clear geopolitical premium since October 7th," he said, adding that "expectations the Fed will cut rates soon is helping".

Analysts said market sentiment was boosted additionally by China's plan to support its struggling property sector.

"Therefore, the recent gains in metals are partly due to a weaker dollar and increased chances of a Fed rate cut, plus optimism over China," said market analyst Fawad Razaqzada at City Index and FOREX.com.

"However, the majority of the gains have been driven by inflation-hedging demand and central bank purchases," he added.

Oil prices dipped after initially jumping on the Iran news.

Investors are looking to the release Wednesday of minutes from the Federal Reserve's May policy decision, hoping for some insight into the thinking of decision-makers.

The release comes after data last week showed US inflation easing in April, reviving hopes the central bank would cut interest rates twice this year.

There are also a number of companies reporting earnings, with NVIDIA centre-stage on Wednesday. The company's high-end processors have been prized by artificial intelligence companies, and the results could send the company's shares to a new record high.

  Key figures around 1330 GMT 

 New York - Dow: DOWN less than 0.1 percent at 39,979.48 points

New York - S&P 500: FLAT at 5,304.30

New York - Nasdaq Composite: UP less than 0.1 percent at 16,699.97

London - FTSE 100: UP less than 0.1 percent at 8,424.92

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.4 percent at 8,203.46

Frankfurt - DAX: UP 0.3 percent at 18,762.10

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.2 percent at 5,071.72

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.7 percent at 39,069.68 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: UP 0.4 percent at 19,636.22 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.5 percent at 3,171.15 (close)

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 156.13 yen from 155.71 yen on Friday

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0864 from $1.0873

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2701 from $1.2702

Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.55 from 85.67 pence

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.7 percent at $79.47 per barrel

Brent North Sea Crude: DOWN 0.6 percent at $83.47 per barrel


AFP


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