Gold is taking aim at $1,300 an ounce. The metal has rallied to the highest since November as investors position themselves for the outcome of the U.K. election and potential drama of former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony, while also tracking tensions in the Middle East.
Bullion for immediate delivery was at $1,290.17 an ounce at 12:19 p.m. in New York, holding near Tuesday’s intraday peak of $1,296.15, the highest since Nov. 9, according to Bloomberg generic pricing. The climb has been supported by a fall in the dollar, which is near the lowest since October.
Gold has risen 12 percent in 2017, and a Bloomberg survey this week signals more gains. The latest leg up has been buttressed by rising haven demand as U.K. voters head to the polls on Thursday, with the result set to dictate how the country handles Brexit. The same day, Comey appears before a congressional panel to testify about his probe into President Donald Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, while the European Central Bank issues a policy decision.
“The two main drivers of gold are the value of the U.S. dollar and uncertainty,” said Jeffrey Halley, market strategist at Oanda Corp. in Singapore, referring to the Middle East tensions, the ECB decision and the U.K. election. “We have both in abundance at the moment. The double whammy has seen traders pile into gold and, given the power of the rally this week, I can’t see any other outcome than a test of $1,300 sooner rather than later.”
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Qatar on Monday citing its support for rival Iran and for extremist groups. The crisis pits U.S. allies against each other, disrupting trade, flights and business activity in one of the world’s most strategically important regions.
Gold may end the year at $1,350, according to the median estimate of 15 people surveyed at a conference organized by the Singapore Bullion Market Association this week. Twelve respondents were bullish, citing the geopolitical uncertainty that continues to weigh on market sentiment. Separately, Westgold Resources Ltd. managing director Peter Cook said Wednesday that prices will gain on global volatility to reach $1,400 by the end of 2017.
While gold has rallied, investors remain mindful that the Federal Reserve is expected to raise rates again next week, adding to increases in December and March. Still, beyond that hike, the Fed isn’t going to be overly aggressive, according to TD Securities. A gauge of the dollar has lost 6 percent this year.
“The amount of uncertainty in the world has increased,” said Avtar Sandu, Asian commodities manager at Phillip Futures Pte. “Despite the rate hike expected in June, the markets are pretty strong. Going forward, it’s a matter of how many hikes there are going to be and when. We just expect one more, maybe in December.”
In other precious metals:
– Silver for July delivery fell 0.6 percent to $17.605 an ounce on the Comex.
– On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum and palladium were also lower.