Gold rose for an eighth straight session on Wednesday as a weaker U.S. dollar encouraged investors to buy, and palladium hit another near 17-year peak on expectations of strong demand and short supplies. Spot gold was up 0.37 percent at $1,287.98 per ounce by 2:32 p.m. EST (1932 GMT) after touching its highest in almost a month at $1,288.50 an ounce. Strong chart signals and a retreat in the dollar are boosting gold, said Phillip Streible, a senior market strategist for RJO Futures in Chicago. The dollar was down against the euro. Traders said there was little news to support the euro’s rise, though some investors have positioned for a possible strengthening in the single currency going into the new year, following a stellar 2017, its best year versus the greenback since 2003. The greenback’s decline bolsters bullion and other dollar-traded commodities, making them less expensive to holders of other currency. The 50- and 200-day moving averages for U.S. gold futures for February delivery crossed on Tuesday, creating a bullish “golden cross” formation and lending support in Wednesday’s trade, Streible said.
The most active U.S. gold futures for February delivery settled up 0.3 percent at $1,291.40 per ounce. Gold is up 10 percent this year, on track for its biggest annual rise since 2010. Weakness in the dollar, concerns over North Korea’s nuclear program, and receding expectations that U.S. interest rates would be raised quickly all boosted bullion. “We may try to test the waters around $1,300,” said Afshin Nabavi, head of trading at MKS in Switzerland. “There seems to be a bit of physical interest coming from the Chinese side as we approach the (Lunar) New Year in February. I wouldn’t be surprised if this buying continues.”
Other traders said the metal is now hitting some resistance around key chart levels. Among other precious metals, palladium touched its highest since February 2001 at $1,069.50 an ounce, just $5.50 an ounce from that month’s peak, and was up 1.05 percent at $1,062.50. Palladium is the best performer of the precious metals complex in 2017, up more than 50 percent as years of deficit and expectations for rising demand from the car industry bolstered the investment case for the autocatalyst metal. “Investors perceive the market to be very tight,” INTL FCStone said in a note. Silver was almost 1 percent higher at $16.69, after reaching its highest since late November at $16.723. Platinum was up 0.24 percent at $920.65 after touching $927.20, the highest since Dec. 5.