Gold prices rose for a second straight session on Tuesday as global economic concerns spurred safe-haven demand and assets in the top bullion fund reached the highest since 2014.
Spot gold gained 0.2 percent to $1,240.40 an ounce by 0045 GMT, after rising 1.3 percent in the previous session. The metal, which logged its best month in four years in February with a 10.8 percent gain, has been one of the best performing assets this year amid a turmoil in the wider markets.
Asian shares rose slightly in early trade on Tuesday, with sentiment bolstered by China’s easing move and gains in oil prices but also constrained by lacklustre U.S. and European data that kept concerns about global growth momentum alive. The People’s Bank of China on Monday cut its reserve requirement ratio, or the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves, by 50 basis points.
Downbeat U.S. data revived concerns about the strength of the economy. Contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes fell to their lowest level in a year in January, while the Chicago Purchasing Manager Index – a leading indicator of the U.S. economy – contracted to 47.6 in February. Global economic concerns have prompted investors to channel money into gold.
Assets of SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, rose 1.95 percent to 777.27 tonnes on Monday, the highest since September 2014. American Eagle gold coin sales in February more than quadrupled year-over-year as bullion prices surged, U.S. Mint data showed on Monday, confirming anecdotal information that the rally has spurred a flurry of demand. In the physical markets, India has reintroduced a local sales tax on gold jewellery after a gap of four years, on top of record import duty, in a move officials hope will dampen demand for the precious metal in the world’s second biggest consumer.
Indian jewellers will go on indefinite strike from Tuesday in protest over the reintroduction of the sales tax.