Gold extended gains to a second straight session on Wednesday as investors turned to the safe-haven metal after a slump in global equities.
* Spot gold rose 0.2 percent to $1,229.30 an ounce by 0034 GMT, after gaining 1.4 percent in the previous session.
* Global equity markets tumbled on Tuesday, denting the recent recovery in riskier assets as oil prices fell on signs that a proposed deal to freeze output by major producers was not on the horizon.
* Bullion rose along with other safe-haven assets. The Japanese yen climbed to a roughly two-week peak against the dollar, while the Swiss franc rose to a roughly three-week high on Tuesday.
* Gold has gained 16 percent so far this year, making it one of the best performing assets of the year, on the back of concerns over the global economy and the sell-off in stocks.
* Investors have been channelling money into bullion, as evident in flows into exchange-traded funds.
* Assets in SPDR Gold Trust, the top gold-backed ETF, are at their highest since March 2015. The fund’s inflows since the beginning of the year have already surpassed outflows for the whole of 2015.
* The metal has also been helped by speculation that the Federal Reserve may not raise U.S. interest rates this year, after the first rate hike in nearly a decade in December.
* Signs of a slowdown in the global economy and volatile financial markets have led investors to bet against rate hikes any time soon. Prices for U.S. fed funds futures suggest investors see little chance of any increases this year.
* The Fed may need to keep U.S. interest rates unchanged for an “extended period” to give inflation time to rise back to the central bank’s 2-percent target, Dallas Fed chief Robert Kaplan said on Tuesday.
* However, Kansas City Fed President Esther George said the U.S. central bank should consider raising interest rates at its next policy meeting in March. George said volatility in financial markets, if sustained, could give policymakers pause.