Gold climbs toward 6-year peak on heightened US-Iran tensions, dovish central banks

Gold prices advanced on Monday, hovering near a six-year high touched in the previous session, as dovish signals from major central banks and heightened tensions between the United States and Iran boosted demand for the safe-haven metal.

Spot gold was up 0.4% at $1,403.88 per ounce as of 0701 GMT, heading for a fifth straight session of gains. Gold prices hit $1,410.78 on Friday, their highest since Sept. 4, 2013.

U.S. gold futures rose 0.5% to $1,407.10 an ounce.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday he was not seeking war with Tehran, but tensions remain high between the longtime foes with Washington due to announce “significant” sanctions on Iran on Monday.

“We are just seeing continued improvement in sentiment built around the more dovish tone from central banks, but clearly the safe-haven buying has also picked up with the U.S.-Iran tensions escalating over the weekend,” ANZ analyst Daniel Hynes said.

“Gold surpassed some fairly good support levels, so (I) do feel like prices will broadly hold above the $1,400 level. At some point we might see a pullback as investors lock in profits.”

The U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank last week hinted that they were open to ease policies to counter a global economic slowdown, exacerbated by global trade tensions.

Helping bullion’s appeal, the dollar index fell to a three-month low against a basket of currencies on bets the U.S. central bank would start lowering interest rates as early as next month.

“We remain cautiously optimistic on gold as a weaker dollar should provide the precious metal with a robust tailwind for now,” INTL FCStone analyst Edward Meir said in a note.

The market’s focus now shifts to whether Washington and Beijing can resolve their trade dispute at a summit in Japan this week of leaders from the Group of 20 leading world economies.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend the G20 summit in Japan this week, state-run Xinhua news agency said on Sunday, giving the first official confirmation of his attendance at a gathering where he is expected to meet Trump.

Holdings of the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, rose 4.57% on Friday from a day earlier, in their biggest one-day percentage gain since September 2008.

“Strong performance in equity markets has hindered gold’s rally in the past. Those issues around economic growth and potential for lower interest rates have cuddled back the rally in stock markets, that’s seen investors rotate back into gold-backed ETFs,” ANZ analyst Hynes said.

Among other precious metals, silver edged 0.1% higher to $15.37 per ounce and platinum was up 0.9% at $812.63.

Palladium rose 1.1% to $1,516.70 an ounce.

Reporting by Brijesh Patel in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Rashmi Aich