Gold rose to the highest level since March in New York as speculation that the European Central Bank will announce unlimited purchases of government bonds to defuse the region's debt crisis boosted the euro.
The euro traded near a two-month high against the dollar after two central bank officials said that ECB President Mario Draghi will announce the purchases at a policy-setting meeting today. The bond-buying program will be sterilized to assuage concerns about printing money, according to the two. Gold tends to trade inversely to the U.S. currency.
December-delivery gold gained as much as 0.6 percent to $1,703.90 an ounce on the Comex in New York and was at $1,703.80. The price has risen 8.7 percent this year. Photographer: Ron D'Raine/Bloomberg
"The ECB action today is going to be beneficial for gold," said Walter de Wet, the head of commodities research at Standard Bank Plc. December-delivery gold gained 1 percent to $1,711.20 an ounce by 7:30 a.m. on the Comex in New York. Bullion rallied to $1,714.90 earlier, the highest level since March 12. Spot gold advanced 0.9 percent to $1,708.48 an ounce in London, rising above $1,700 for the first time since March 13. Gold will be at $1,840 an ounce by the end of 2012, Jeffrey Currie, head of commodities research at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., said in a Bloomberg Television interview today.
Policy makers' stimulus is a "critical and direct driver of the outlook for gold," Currie said. "In terms of the FOMC pursuing the QE3 it will be critical in putting more upward pressure on gold prices," he said, referring to the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee and speculation about a third round of so-called quantitative easing, or asset purchases.
The ECB has been at the forefront of fighting the crisis, which has so far pushed five countries into bailouts and driven the 17-nation euro economy to the brink of recession. In July, Draghi said he would do "whatever it takes" to defend the euro. Silver for December delivery rose as much as 1.8 percent to $32.92 an ounce, the highest level since April 3, before trading at $32.92. Palladium for December delivery was little changed at $647.10 an ounce.